Gigantic Mexican Megacrystals Created by Climate Change

by , 01/18/10

naica, gypsum, mexico, mines, climate change

We spend a lot of time covering man-made designs, but everyone once in awhile it’s nice to remember that nature isn’t such a bad designer either. Case in point: these 11 meter-long gypsum megacrystals discovered in caves near Chihuahua, Mexico. The massive crystals were formed over the last 200,000 years due to climate change.

naica, gypsum, mexico, mines, climate change

The local climate shift from wet to dry trapped water inside the crystals. At the same time, evaporation during dry spells clumped calcium into surface water. As the local climate swung from one extreme to the other over the years, calcium continued to build up. Eventually, enough calcium became available to build the megacrystals.

So while climate change may not be good for the human race, it’s undoubtedly been the source of some beautiful natural designs in the past — and that’s something both sides of the global warming debate can agree on.

Via New Scientist

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  1. Erickfer Salas March 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Cycleogical: It’s not a hoax. scientist had to put oxygen masks and wear protective coats to go in and explore before some water pump project (i believe) flooded the crystal caves, watch the NatGeo’s documentary on it.

    This is truly remarkable!!!! they were discovered around 2000 i believe and documented just last year.

  2. owain roberts February 22, 2010 at 8:14 am

    So is this where Superman is hiding these days?

  3. marcmonbo February 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    This is a rather faulty explanation of how these crystals were made. Gypsum is an evaporite mineral, meaning that the crystal is the build-up that is left over from evaporated mineral-rich water. The reason these crystals grew so large is because the temperature in the cave remained relatively constant for a long period of time, causing the calcium-rich water to evaporate and deposit new crystalline material without interruption for as long as it took them to reach such a massive size.

    “Water trapped inside the crystals?” The crystals wouldn’t be crystals if water were trapped inside. “Shifts in climate?” This cave was closed off and is close to 1,000 feet underground, well outside of the influence of atmospheric climate. The heat source that warmed the cave is geothermal in nature and has nothing to do with climate shifts. I agree that these crystals show off the unthinkably beautiful designs the Earth creates on its own, but the author should take a geology class or two before blindly attributing all natural phenomena to climate change.

  4. iasotsftlt January 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    No David Wayne, the INCAS knew nothing of these cristals because the Incas are from Peru. That is in South America. The cristals were found in caves un the Chiuahuan desert in northern Mexico. The discovery of this cristals was reported in the National geografic magazine 1 or 2 years ago. I may be wrong but I recall the article saying that the cave was sealed after the report was made.
    Just 2 things…
    David please get a map.
    If this cristals took 200,000 years to form it was not our involment in climate change that made them. Lets not take credit for what Mother Nature made by her self.

  5. manny January 22, 2010 at 12:56 am

    these crystals are amazing……climate change has its upsides!

  6. davidwayneosedach January 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    What fabulous crystals! They are as remarkable as the pyramids. I wonder if the Incas knew anything about them?

  7. cycleogical January 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Photoshop… scientist would walk on these things. Looks like a hoax to me. I bet those Global Warming Doubters released these pictures. Later they “discover” them as a hoax and point to them as proof of the wacky science that liberal scientists invent to support their views. Maybe i’m just paranoid but I need more info before believing these exist. I know I could make these images in Photoshop. Why does one picture have a fat dude in a T-shirt groping them and the other looks like space paratroopers in matching suits. Very fishy.

  8. KarjaCH January 19, 2010 at 9:21 am

    And now that these crystals have been found and walked all over, their 200,000 year formation is at an end.

  9. KarjaCH January 19, 2010 at 9:20 am

    And, now that these crystals have been found and walked all over, their 200,000 year formation is at an end.

  10. olivia dunham January 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    That’s some crazy looking crystals!

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