Giant Crystals Found Inside Mexico's Naica Mine

Nestling up to a cauldron of pressurized, molten rock is almost never a good idea. But in Mexico's Naica mine, the payoff is worth the risk. About 900 feet below the surface, there is a chamber filled with gypsum. It's the same stuff that goes in the drywall in your house, only in Naica it spent half a million years parboiling in a chamber filled with magma-heated water.

Suddenly miners showed up and started pumping the mineral-rich broth out to get at valuable silver and lead deposits nearby. The result is a cavern filled with crystals 36 feet long and weighing in at up to 55 tons, easily the largest in the world.

Last Fall, adventurer and filmmaker George Kourounis traveled to Naica to see the incredible “Crystal Cave of Giants” for himself. Though there's little risk of eruption from the nearby magma chamber, the cave itself is still deadly hot – over 120 Fahrenheit with about 90 percent humidity. People are only allowed in without cooling suits for a few minutes at a time. Sadly, once the silver in Naica runs out, miners will likely turn the pumps off again. The chamber will fill with water, the crystals will once again be among Earth's vast, inaccessible depths. The cave itself is still deadly hot, over 120 Fahrenheit with about 90 percent humidity. People are only allowed in without cooling suits for a few minutes at a time.

10 Most Amazing Extinct Animals Part-2

1. Caspian Tiger: The Caspian tiger also known as the Persian tiger, Turanian tiger, Mazandaran tiger or Hyrcanian tiger was the westernmost population of Siberian tiger, found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Caucasus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan until it apparently became extinct in the late 1950s, though there have been several alleged sightings of the tiger. The Caspian tiger's body was generally less massive than that of its Far Eastern cousins, and its average size slightly less. Male tigers exceeded 200 cm in length, though an estimated body length of 270 cm was recorded. Females were smaller in size, normally ranging between 160-180 cm. The maximum known weight was 240 kg.

2. Aurochs: The aurochs or urus , the ancestor of domestic cattle, was a type of huge wild cattle which inhabited Europe, Asia and North Africa, but is now extinct; it survived in Europe until 1627. The aurochs was far larger than most modern domestic cattle with a shoulder height of 2 metres (6.6 ft) and weighing 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). Domestication occurred in several parts of the world at roughly the same time, about 8,000 years ago. It was regarded as a challenging quarry animal, contributing to its extinction. The last recorded live aurochs, a female, died in 1627 in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland and its skull is now the property of Livrustkammaren in Stockholm.

3. Great Auk: The Great Auk is a bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It was the only species in the genus Pinguinus - a group of birds that included several flightless giant auks from the Atlantic Ocean region - to survive until modern times. The Great Auk was also known as a garefowl (from the Old Norse geirfugl, meaning "spear-bird", referring to the shape of its beak) and penguin before the birds known by that name today were so called. The Great Auk was found very extensively on islands off eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, and Great Britain before being hunted to extinction. Remains found in Florida suggest that, at least occasionally, the Great Auk ventured that far south in winter as recently as the 14th century. Standing about 75 to 85 centimetres (30 to 33 in) tall and weighing around 5 kilograms (11 lb), the flightless Great Auk was both the largest of the auks and the largest member of the order Charadriiformes.

4. Cave Lion: This subspecies was one of the largest lions. An adult male, which was found in 1985 near Siegsdorf (Germany), had a shoulder height of around 1.2 m (4 ft) and a body length of 2.1 m (7 ft) without tail. This is similar to the size of a very large modern lion. The size of this male has been exceeded by other specimens of this subspecies. Therefore this cat may have been around 5-10% bigger than modern lions, but it didn't reach the measures of the earlier cave lion subspecies Panthera leo fossilis or those of the huge American lion (Panthera leo atrox). The cave lion is known from Paleolithic cave paintings, ivory carvings, and clay figurines. These representations indicate that cave lions had rounded, protruding ears, tufted tails, possibly faint tiger-like stripes, and that at least some had a "ruff" or primitive mane around their neck, indicating males.

5. Dodo: The dodo was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter (3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb), living on fruit and nesting on the ground. The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly attributable to human activity.

10 Most Amazing Extinct Animals Part-1

1. Tyrannosaurus rex: Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest land carnivores of all time; the largest complete specimen, FMNH PR2081, measured 12.8 metres (42 ft) long, and was 4.0 metres (13 ft) tall at the hips. Mass estimates have varied widely over the years, from more than 7.2 metric tons (7.9 short tons),to less than 4.5 metric tons (5.0 short tons), with most modern estimates ranging between 5.4 and 6.8 metric tons.

2. Quagga: The quagga is an extinct subspecies of the Plains zebra,which was once found in great numbers in South Africa's Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State. It was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid marks on the front part of the body only. In the mid-section, the stripes faded and the dark, inter-stripe spaces became wider, and the rear parts were a plain brown. The name comes from a Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga's call. The only quagga to have ever been photographed alive was a mare at the Zoological Society of London's Zoo in Regent's Park in 1870.

3. Thylacine (The Tasmanian Tiger): The Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger (because of its striped back), the Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie (or Tazzy) Tiger or simply the Tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the twentith century. It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus. The Thylacine was one of only two marsupials to have a pouch in both sexes (the other being the Water Opossum).

4. Steller's sea cow: Steller's sea cow is a large extinct sirenian mammal. Formerly abundant throughout the North Pacific, its range was limited to a single, isolated population on the uninhabited Commander Islands by 1741 when it was first described by Georg Wilhelm Steller, chief naturalist on an expedition led by explorer Vitus Bering. Within 27 years of discovery by Europeans, the slow moving and easily captured Steller's sea cow was hunted to extinction.

5. Irish Deer: The Irish Elk or Giant Deer was a species of Megaloceros and one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended across Eurasia, from Ireland to east of Lake Baikal, during the Late Pleistocene. The latest known remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago. Although large numbers of skeletons have been found in Irish bogs, its common name, Irish Elk, is misleading as the animal was not exclusively Irish, and neither was it closely related to either of the living species currently called elk; for this reason, the name "Giant Deer" is preferred in more recent publications. Megaloceros giganteus first appeared about 400,000 years ago.
The Irish Elk stood about 2.1 metres (6.9 ft) tall at the shoulders, and it had the largest antlers of any known cervid (a maximum of 3.65 m (12.0 ft) from tip to tip and weighing up to 40 kilograms (88 lb)). In body size, the Irish Elk matched the extant moose subspecies of Alaska (Alces alces gigas) as the largest known deer. A significant collection of M. giganteus skeletons can be found at the Natural History Museum in Dublin.

Makeover of World's Best Illusion