“However, the amount of skepticism associated with these studies usually correlates directly with the age of the claim,” cautions Christner. The mining complex in Naica contains substantial deposits of silver, zinc and lead. The organisms are genetically distinct from anything known on Earth, according to her team’s analysis, although they are most similar to other microbes found in caves and volcanic terrain. Naica, Mexico GPS Coordinates: 27°51′N 105°29′W. “This has profound effects on how we try to understand the evolutionary history of microbial life on this planet.”. They were drilling a new tunnel and pumping out water from the mine. Exploration has given credence to the existence of further chambers, but further exploration would have required significant removal of the crystals. A cave with a temperature of 50° C and 100% humidity; an infernal place, where man can survive just a few minutes. Crystals 'relaxing at home'! Boston notes that her team took a variety of steps to try and avoid contamination, including wearing protective suits, sterilizing their drills, and sterilizing the surfaces of the crystals with hydrogen peroxide and, in some cases, fire. Cave of the Crystals in Naica, Mexico. Cave of the Crystals is connected to the Naica Mine at a depth of 300 meters (980 feet). Cave of the Crystals … Photograph by Carsten Peter, Speleoresearch & Films, Nat Geo Image Collection. 2 H2O), some of the largest natural crystals ever found. In 2013, researchers in France and Spain reported the discovery of microbial life in hot, saline springs deep inside the Naica system. In 1910 miners discovered a cavern beneath the Naica mine workings, the Cave of Swords (Spanish: Cueva de las Espadas). Article by imgur. These caves are in mines on private property. “I am very skeptical about the veracity of this finding until I see the evidence.”. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. The microbes her team collected, she adds, are “a precious resource, and we want to make it available to other folks. See our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. The cave's largest crystal found to date is 12 meters (39 feet) in length, 4 meters (13 feet) in diameter and 55 tons in weight. Even sleeping organisms need food eventually or their cells will start to degrade, and scientists don’t yet know if these hardy microbes can slow down their metabolism just enough to survive for millennia. Giant Crystal Cave was discovered in 2000 by miners excavating a new tunnel for the Industrias Peñoles mining company locat… No public clipboards found for this slide. These caves are in mines on private property. If you continue browsing the site, you agree to the use of cookies on this website. At the same time, the microbes raise some serious concerns about efforts to explore other worlds in our solar system and hunt for alien life, she says. Earlier, it was featured on the History Channel program ‘Life After People’, in the episode “Depths of Destruction” of the second season. As far as has been discussed here in the past, they are open to scientific investigation only. The Cave of Crystals, as it became named, is nestled 290 m underground, topped by a mountain rich in lead, zinc, and silver. Workers descend through a mine shaft toward the caverns of Naica mine. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Beautiful World Beautiful Places Wonderful Places Large Crystals Natural Crystals Science And Nature Natural Wonders Amazing Nature Wonders Of The World. In 1910, miners working deep underground at the Naica mine in Northern Mexico broke through the rock into an otherworldly place: a previously sealed-off cave like something out of science fiction. For instance, other scientists have reported on ancient microbial life found in glacial ice, encased in amber, and trapped in salt crystals. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Exploration has given credence to the existence of further chambers, but further exploration would have required significant removal of the crystals. The mine stopped being profitable and operations at Naica have ceased, so the crystal cave is once more flooded with groundwater. ... Rare glimpse of the crystal cave. The sharp variations in relative humidity appear to be related to meteoric infiltration waters that may have come in through the NAICA fault. “Aspects of my work illustrate the extreme toughness of life on Earth and the restrictions that places on us.”. 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