Naica Mine, Chihuahua, Mexico
The Naica mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, with its enormous gypsum crystals, may well be called the "Queen of the Giant Crystals localities." Though the Naica mine is no show mine, but still a working lead-zinc mine hosted in layered limestones, the first of several crystal caves was discovered in 1910. This "Cave of the Swords" contained extraordinary large sword-like selenite (gypsum) crystals up to 2 m long. In 2000 another crystal cave system was discovered at 300 m depth, even more spectacular than the original cave. Inside were free growing gypsum crystals up to 12 m long and 2 m in diameter. The ASTER image uses SWIR bands 4, 6, and 8 in RGB. Limestone is displayed in yellow-green colors, vegetation is red.
The image was acquired February 16, 2004, covers an area of 26 x 23.5 km, and is located near 27.8 degrees north latitude, 105.5 degrees west longitude. The photo of crystals was taken from: http://www.thatcrystalsite.com/.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.