At the beginning of the 20th Century the Naica mine became world renown when the largest gypsum crystals of the whole planet were found inside. Since 2000 four new caves were discovered deeper inside the same mine, hosting gigantic gypsum crystals (over 12 m in length). In 2005 an International project led by Speleoresearch & Film of Mexico City and La Venta Exploring Team from Italy started to study all the scientific aspects related to the development of these crystals. In the framework of this project, a detailed analyses has been performed on the secondary minerals hosted inside the Naica caves. This research put in evidence a completely unexpected mineralogical richness for an environment apparently completely filled by gypsum: 40 minerals have been observed, 10 of which are new for the cavern environment. These minerals developed in three different environments (deep phreatic, epiphreatic and aerate). The aerate environment, even though active only in a short interval of time (a few hundred years) in respect to the other two which lasted many hundreds of thousands of years, allows the highest mineralogical variability in the still now-forming compounds (35, among which 25 are exclusive of this environment). Keywords: cave minerals, minerogenetic mechanisms, hypogene caves

Minerogenesis in the Naica Caves (Chihuahua, Mexico)

FORTI, PAOLO;
2009

Abstract

At the beginning of the 20th Century the Naica mine became world renown when the largest gypsum crystals of the whole planet were found inside. Since 2000 four new caves were discovered deeper inside the same mine, hosting gigantic gypsum crystals (over 12 m in length). In 2005 an International project led by Speleoresearch & Film of Mexico City and La Venta Exploring Team from Italy started to study all the scientific aspects related to the development of these crystals. In the framework of this project, a detailed analyses has been performed on the secondary minerals hosted inside the Naica caves. This research put in evidence a completely unexpected mineralogical richness for an environment apparently completely filled by gypsum: 40 minerals have been observed, 10 of which are new for the cavern environment. These minerals developed in three different environments (deep phreatic, epiphreatic and aerate). The aerate environment, even though active only in a short interval of time (a few hundred years) in respect to the other two which lasted many hundreds of thousands of years, allows the highest mineralogical variability in the still now-forming compounds (35, among which 25 are exclusive of this environment). Keywords: cave minerals, minerogenetic mechanisms, hypogene caves
2009
Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Speleology
300
305
Forti P.; Galli E.; Rossi A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/82596
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