The Caves of Naica: A decade of research

Año Publicación:  2016
Responsable: F. Gázquez et al.
Journal, Volumen y páginas:
Boletin Geológico y Minero, 127(1), 147–163


F. Gázquez, J. M. Calaforra, P. Forti & G. Badino


The caves of the Naica Mine have been the subject of study by scientists from up to seven counties over the past decade. Up to fifty research works have published to date, most relating to the origin of the giant selenite crystals of the Cueva de los Cristales. Nevertheless, a great deal of knowledge has been generated about other relevant aspects of the Naica system. This paper puts together the vast information available about the Naica caves, from the discovery of the Cueva de los Cristales in 2000 to the more recent investigations addressing mineralogy, microclimatology and the use of gypsum speleothems as a palaeo-environmental proxy. Special attention has been paid to novel research lines that have started to use the speleothems of Naica as a study case, particularly in fields such as Astrobiology and Planetary geology. Moreover, the conservation challenges which these caves will face in the near future as consequence of the end of mining activities have also been addressed in this article.

Keywords: Cueva de los Cristales, Cueva de las Espadas, gypsum, Naica; speleothems

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