Naica Cave: The Giant, Lethal Cave of the Crystals

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

In the Mexican State of Chihuahua, we have a giant crystal cave in the Naica Mine at a depth of nearly 400 feet. This cave’s walls are studded with crystal daggers, where massive pillars inside the cave reach a length of over 36 feet. It sounds like something out of science fiction, but it is all very real. Due to these unbelievable sizes, people call it the Cave of the Crystals.

Also called Giant Crystal Cave, it’s nearly the size of a basketball court.

It was first discovered in 2002 by two brothers who unknowingly drilled into it. It’s an unlikely, astounding discovery that attracted international media. The heaviest crystals of this cave were estimated to weigh up to 55 tons.

Professors of Geology especially researched them and discovered that these gigantic crystals began to form about 600,000 years ago.

Scientists flocked to investigate, puzzled by the conditions that allowed the crystals to form so perfectly. These crystals have been growing to epic proportions without much impediment, something quite unheard of in traditional caves.

So how are these crystals growing this big?

Juan Garcia-Ruiz, from the University of Granada, revealed the real reason behind their formation.

It’s attributed to the massive underground magma chamber below the cave. Over time, this magma rose, pushing hot, mineral-rich waters into the caverns inside the mountain near the town of Naica. Scientists measured the rate of growth using some of the current-day water at Naica to determine their age.

Lab experiments showed that this mineral-rich hot water remained very stable at 50 degrees Celsius for 500,000 years. This calcium sulfate-rich water led to the formation and immense sizes of these crystals.

Some other caves also have the presence of crystals, but they are not like the cave in the Naica Mine. They simply don’t share the same ideal conditions, and the temperature fluctuations over time interrupted the growth of the crystals long before they reached notable size.

A cluster of crystals along the ceiling of Naica Cave.

How to Visit Naica Cave

Cavers usually don’t visit this cave, but it’s easy to see why. First they are owned by Industrias Penoles (Mexican mining company, and the producer of gold, zinc, and lead).

But also, it can only be visited and studied in special cooling suits. The peak underground temperature is over 130 degrees Fahrenheit (58 Celsius), which is already unbearable for people, and the humidity level is immense.

It is difficult for you to breathe as well. You need a supply of oxygen to spend lengthy time inside the cave.

Without proper caving equipment, you can only stay up to 10 minutes inside.

Unfortunately, it appears that the cave of the crystals will soon lose its natural formation. The formation of Selenite crystals in particular is slowly deteriorating. This is because the crystalline structure of the Selenite crystal has two molecules of water. Once preserved in an extreme environment, the new accessibility of the site and mining activities changed the environment of the cave. When the water molecules of Selenite come in contact with the air, they change and cracks form on the surface of the crystals.

Believe it or not, this cave is still not fully explored. Even for the experts, the conditions aren’t ideal; each trip is greatly limited in duration. But, unfortunately for cavers with the dying curiosity and thirst for adventure…Naica Cave is not open for exploration today.

The mining company has closed its route due to its deadliness and to preserve its authenticity. The activity of the tourists was destroying many of its crystals. Scientists are still able to visit for research purposes, but as of now, it seems that Naica Cave is closed to the public.

A closer view of the giant crystal pillars in Naica Cave.

Selenite Crystals and Healing Properties

You may be wondering why people value the cave so much. Selenite crystal, a highly desirable stone, can be found here in massive quantity. Most people haven’t even heard of selenite before learning of this cave, but it is a rare crystal with many uses.

Also known as satin spar, desert rose, or gypsum flower, selenite means “the moon” in Greek.

Commonly found in Mexico, Morocco, and Madagascar, this crystal aptly earned the nickname of ‘Physical White Light’. It is water-soluble, and used by many people. mostly for cleansing and healing purposes. Healing Crystal experts recognize it as having the its ability to cleanse your auric field, which is why we often see it used when making jewelry.

Fortunately, while finding it in caves is difficult, buying this crystal online today is easy. If you are interested in a crystal, albeit an significantly smaller version, the ‘Crystal Age’ brand offers the Selenite crystal here, cut in a useful shape and with good quality.

For those that utilize crystals for healing and cleansing, selenite is often sought out for good reason. Others may feel attracted to it simply because of its ability to go well with multiple forms of jewelry.

A man in an orange caving suit and headgear stands admist massive crystal pillars.

Selenite Crystal Trivia

Below are some facts and benefits of Selenite crystals. Keep in mind that you can find them almost exclusively in Naica Cave, and in some other parts of the world like Morocco and Madagascar.

  • It is available in the white or colorless form with pearly to glassy luster.
  • Some people call it ‘Liquid Light’ too because of liquid-like energy fluidity.
  • The word Selenite comes from the name Selena; the goddess of the moon.
  • The crystal that you find in the Naica Cave is a variety of Gypsum. For that reason, it is softest in its existence, radiates soothing feelings, and looks like moonlight. It is very fragile and you have to take care of it. In other caves with crystals, the same Selenite can be found in green and desert rose colors too, although these are much rarer.
  • People who use crystals for healing love to have Selenite in their energy tool kit because this crystal doesn’t need to be recharged. It keeps on working with the same intensity and high vibe after years of use, and this is what makes it special.
  • In addition to daily energetic maintenance, one can use it for soothing wounds of the physical body. Crystal enthusiasts believe it improves the healing process.
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If you don’t find crystals very interesting for their spiritual energy, you can still use selenite as a great decoration piece or for a gem in a piece of jewelry. Scientists, experts, and cavers from all around the world gathered to see the luminous, beautiful crystals in Naica Cave.

If you ever get the chance to go and study it in the name of science, we’d love to hear about what you find.

A big chunk of raw selenite crystal.

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