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Chem Soc Rev. 2014 Apr 7;43(7):2013-26. doi: 10.1039/c3cs60320b. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Nucleation and growth of the Naica giant gypsum crystals.

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LEC, IACT (CSIC/UGr), Av. de Las Palmeras 4, Armilla (Granada), Spain.


The Cave of Giant Crystals in the Naica mine (Mexico) is one of the most amazing displays of mineral beauty ever created in nature. In addition to the colossal crystals of gypsum, which in some cases exceed eleven meters in length and one meter in thickness, the scenery fashioned by the crystalline beams that thrust through the darkness of the cave from floor to ceiling with a luster like moonlight is a unique example of harmony based on crystal symmetry. We review the crystallogenesis of this remarkable and challenging phenomenon of mineralization near equilibrium that can be used to teach the basics of nucleation and crystal growth.


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