Field of Science

The Largest Crystals Ever Discovered Are At Risk Of Decay

The mine of Naica, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, was opened in 1828 to mine for lead, zinc and silver ore. In 1910, a natural cave in the mine was discovered, which was later named Cueva de las Espadas, the Cave of Swords. The name derives from three-feet large, blade-like gypsum crystals (calcium-sulfate) completely covering the walls of the cave.
However, what the miners discovered almost 90 years later during the construction of a new tunnel was even more astounding. The Cueva de los Cristales, the Cave of the Crystals, hosts the most incredible crystals ever discovered. The mining operations, making the discovery possible, are also threatening this geological treasure.


110 Years After The Tunguska Event We Still Aren't Sure What Caused It

At 7:15 on the morning of June 30, 1908, something happened in the sky above the Stony Tunguska (Podkamennaya Tunguska) river in Siberia. Many thousand people in a radius of 900 miles observed the Tunguska event and more than 700 accounts were collected later. The reports describe a fireball in the sky, larger or similar to the size of the sun, a series of explosions “with a frightful sound”, followed by shaking of the ground as “the earth seemed to get opened wide and everything would fall in the abyss. Terrible strokes were heard from somewhere, which shook the air [].” The indigenous Evenks and Yakuts believed a god or shaman had sent the fireball to destroy the world. Various meteorological stations in Europe recorded both seismic and atmospheric waves. Days later strange phenomena were observed in the sky of Russia and Europe, such as glowing clouds, colorful sunsets and a strange luminescence in the night.

A devastating explosion occurred in a remote swampy area of Siberia in June 1908 that even now continues to spark controversy and theories of widely varying plausibility.

Hawaii's Kilauea Eruption Did Not Rain Gemstones From The Sky

Since the beginning of May 2018, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii has been erupting. First a cloud of fragmented older lava, volcanic ash and vapor rose from the Pu‘u ‘O‘o crater on the summit, magma then migrated to the flanks, opening a series of fissures from where now lava is pouring out.

Around five weeks into the eruption, some residents of the town of Kalapana reported small, green crystals to be found on the ground, soon speculating that the crystals rained out from the eruption column or the lava fountains of Kilauea.


Olivine sand from the Papakolea Beach on Hawai'i. Source and Credit: Wikipedia-user Tomintx, CC BY-SA 4.0.