Volume 89 Issue 38 | p. 28 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 19, 2011

Giant Crystals Grow Superslowly

Scientists estimate that Mexican gypsum crystals took up to 1 million years to reach their current size
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: crystallization, gypsum, interferometry

Scientists studying the geochemical processes at play in the formation of giant gypsum crystals (CaSO4•2H2O) found in Mexico’s Naica ore mines have determined that these natural wonders—up to about 35 feet long and 3 feet thick—grow much more slowly than a snail’s pace, taking up to 1 million years to reach their current size. To study the crystals, a team led by Juan Manuel García-Ruíz of the University of Granada, in . . .

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