For those of us not getting real "rocks" for Valentine's Day, I thought these giant crystals might give us something to ooh and aah over instead. (I keed, I keed.) ;)
These photos are from crystal caves in Naica, Mexico called Cueva de los Cristales (or "Cave of Crystals" - brilliant name, by the way, right?).
Doesn't this guy look like Luigi (of Mario & Luigi) in his little navy plumber's outfit and green hat?
Photos from National Geographic
Discovered in 2000, the caves contain some of the world's largest known natural crystals, which are as long as 36 feet and weigh up to 55 tons; the largest crystal in the caves is 500,000 years old.
These aren't the kind of caves you can check out yourself, though: the main cavern can kill humans after just 15 minutes of exposure due to its 100% humidity and temperatures hovering around 136°F. Only select scientists have ever been down there, and they are required to wear protective suiting (basically filled with ice cubes and a dry air system).
Regardless of the danger, these caves yield huge amounts of silver, lead and water, which is handled by a Mexican mining company. The water has been used to create a lake in the desert, as well as water a nearby golf course. (Okay...An amazing natural treasure and that's how we use its resources...)
Either way, these caves are cool. Well, actually, they're hot, but you know what I mean...
Thank you, Alyson, for sharing these amazing crystal caves!