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It's Getting Hot in Herre / So Put On Coolin' Clothes
September 9, 2009 5:37 PM   Subscribe

225° F (105° C) heat index. Easily impaled on 55-ton jagged crystals that are 36 feet long ... made out of drywall (kinda). "Most cameras with moving parts and tape mechanisms simply will not work."
posted by WCityMike (45 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
The planet is so frickin awesome.
posted by gc at 5:39 PM on September 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow. That's like a set from Star Trek or The Outer Limits.
posted by dhartung at 5:41 PM on September 9, 2009


EX-TER-MIN-ATE
posted by DU at 5:43 PM on September 9, 2009


Fortress of Solitude.
posted by Huck500 at 5:44 PM on September 9, 2009


Previously
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:47 PM on September 9, 2009


Here's some more links from another post.
posted by Science! at 5:47 PM on September 9, 2009


Fortress of Solitude.

Indeed.

See also.
posted by dersins at 5:48 PM on September 9, 2009


When the Naica mine is no longer profitable, it is likely that they will just shut off the water pumps and the crystal cave would then disappear forever.

Well, that's not totally true—it would just refill with water, therefore being inaccessible, unless someone wanted to pump it out again. But it would still be there, and given given how much damage some natural sites take as a result of being over-explored by tourists, maybe a temporary window of opportunity isn't a bad thing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:48 PM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Absolutely beautiful.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:57 PM on September 9, 2009


True story: I was watching a special about this on some cable channel one night with my boyfriend, and though I was saying things like "shit, that's cool" and other far-from-literate points, he was so silent that I thought he'd fallen asleep.

And then he just started crying.

Stunned, I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "nothing..it's just so..." (long pause) "awesome" (sobs) "that it makes everything worth it"

I often wish I'd not already been in love with him because that would have been an awfully awesome moment to realize it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:19 PM on September 9, 2009 [18 favorites]


Neat! So... this is, like, some place I can go?
posted by ph00dz at 6:22 PM on September 9, 2009


Impossibly gorgeous.
posted by Rora at 6:22 PM on September 9, 2009


wow, I'm surprised I've never heard of this, thanks!
posted by ryaninoakland at 6:28 PM on September 9, 2009


Well, that "previously" makes it look like this one's a bit of a dupe. Not a dupe linkwise (or at least the dupe-link checker didn't catch it), but certainly a dupe subjectwise ...
posted by WCityMike at 6:38 PM on September 9, 2009


I'm not sure why they do not use dry ice to cool down the suits. If you're already at a mere thirty to fifty minutes before the gel packs fail you, surely the rapid sublimation of dry ice would help. Ten kilograms of dry ice would remove about 89 megajoules of heat as it sublimates. You'd need some kind of heat exchange, perhaps with the gel packs, so you wouldn't give anyone frostbite, but that's not a trivial amount.

It looks like a suit was attempted using just that principle in 1981.

How stable is the environment in there? Would the increased CO2 substantially alter things?
posted by adipocere at 6:42 PM on September 9, 2009


Is it crazy to anyone else that in some of the pictures from the older posts, there are people standing in the caves in short-sleeve shirts & khakis? With that kind of heat, I don't think I'd be able to get anywhere near it unless I was emerged in one of those giant tanks the Spice Navigators from Dune used, and it was full of ice cold jello.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:00 PM on September 9, 2009


Amazing.
posted by Quietgal at 7:09 PM on September 9, 2009


Wow.
posted by dejah420 at 7:13 PM on September 9, 2009


THAT IS FUCKING AWESOME. Thank you.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 7:14 PM on September 9, 2009


Incredible, this world is.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 7:21 PM on September 9, 2009


Holy.


Fuck.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:26 PM on September 9, 2009


Well, they've got Black Rock City beat...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:35 PM on September 9, 2009


Nthing the "we live in a fucking awesome universe."
posted by brundlefly at 7:47 PM on September 9, 2009


Eek! Scary and neat all at the same time.

Mother Nature is wicked cool.
posted by bwg at 7:49 PM on September 9, 2009


Makes House on the Rock look silly by comparison.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:50 PM on September 9, 2009


Stupid humans - you're supposed to eat the doozer sticks, not walk all over them.

Down in Fraggle Rock! *clap clap*
posted by empyrean at 8:22 PM on September 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, they've also got See Rock City beat.
posted by pappy at 9:25 PM on September 9, 2009


I saw a TV show about this cave. I think it was on the Science Channel. Check local listings.
posted by neuron at 9:50 PM on September 9, 2009


Wow. Rusted airplanes, carrier pigeons, and now these incredible caves filled with 55 ton Gypsum crystals at a temperature of 225 degrees F. Good FPP's today. The blue comes out swingin' with the flights of fancy and the melancholy gorgeousness of the damned real and imagined world. Awesome stuff.
posted by Skygazer at 10:02 PM on September 9, 2009


Those are huge. I bet when you break them there's like a whole novel written on the inside...
posted by pompomtom at 10:26 PM on September 9, 2009


Stunning and inspiring and terrifying.
posted by lucidium at 1:05 AM on September 10, 2009


This was in the National Geographic magazine last year on a fold out page. I gasped. Then I ran around showing everyone in the house.
posted by bystander at 1:49 AM on September 10, 2009


Well, they've also got Rock City Beat.

I'm sorry, that was just too good to pass up. But the cave pictures are awesome.
posted by mmoncur at 2:33 AM on September 10, 2009


Gypsum caves are frackin' awesome.

How stable is the environment in there? Would the increased CO2 substantially alter things?

In general, caves are pretty delicate environments. Caves often have higher levels of CO2 than the surrounding environment. Foul air caves and all that, I am unsure how sublimating dry ice would affect the atmosphere. I suppose if there's enough of it, it could be bad in small spaces.

Info on cave air quality:, 1, 2, 3, plus some info on cave air flow (PDF) I found.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:38 AM on September 10, 2009


CO2 toxicity
And when the CO2 hits about 7% to 10% of your ambient air, you DO die. Even if the rest is O2. It's CO2 narcosis, and it shuts you down.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:31 AM on September 10, 2009


Fantastic! Great post! :)
posted by zarq at 7:55 AM on September 10, 2009


I remember when... National Geographic put out a piece on this. The whole place looks incredibly alien. So removed from the things we've seen to be almost not-understandable. Especialyl when you see it in scale compared to the fellow in the picture.

I always wondered what color the water surrounding the crystals was, and I guess, will be. Also, how many of those columns at bizarre angles have succumbed to gravity without the suspension provided by the drained water.
posted by LD Feral at 7:56 AM on September 10, 2009


As a child, I dreamt of a place exactly such as this. That it is real gives hope to all of my wildest dreams.
posted by Freen at 8:43 AM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here are a few pictures and facts from a Discovery channel episode. There is a short video here as well.
posted by Feantari at 8:57 AM on September 10, 2009


With such high temperatures, once you step inside the cave, your body begins dying.

A tad hyperbolic, no?

The air temperature is 50C with a relative humidity of over 90%,
Entering the cave without special protective suits can be fatal in 15 minutes.

Am I missing something? That is basically Hammam temperature and I'm pretty sure that is not lethal in 15 minutes. Hell a sauna is not lethal in 15 minutes and it's considerably hotter even if the humidity is not nearly as high.
posted by Authorized User at 10:43 AM on September 10, 2009


That is basically Hammam temperature and I'm pretty sure that is not lethal in 15 minutes. Hell a sauna is not lethal in 15 minutes and it's considerably hotter even if the humidity is not nearly as high. (Authorized User)

"The temperatures in a traditional sauna can actually approach 200 degrees Fahrenheit! The extremely low humidity present in the sauna makes these temperatures tolerable. Properly designed, the sauna's relative humidity rarely exceeds 5% when operated in the 'dry' mode. This permits the copious amount of perspiration produced by the body to dry quickly thus having a cooling effect."
posted by WCityMike at 1:28 PM on September 10, 2009


If it ever fills-up with water that would be justification enough to do a full cave diver certification just to dive there ;) Well... maybe if it cools down a bit.
posted by coust at 11:57 PM on September 10, 2009


How...do you...live...on...the surface...of your world....?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 1:11 AM on September 11, 2009


Wcitymike: The typical Hammam has temperature of 40-50C and an air humidity of around 100%. A regular Sauna optimally has a temperature of 60-70C and an air humidity of 40%. Neither of these is lethal after 15 minutes of exposure. In fact even the article says:

We were inside for only 14 minutes, which was pushing the danger limits without cooling suits. When we exited, the staging area was a "cool" 41 Celsius. My heart was pounding and I was completely soaked in sweat, my shirts, pants, socks & boots... Everything. All we could do was sit, drink and rest.

So basically they went in for 14 minutes and the end result was that he was sweating. Which is pretty much as expected. Doing any kind of work inside for 45 minutes probably does require a cooling suit. But your body does not "start dying" and 15 minutes is not lethal unless you have some serious underlying condition.
posted by Authorized User at 1:40 AM on September 12, 2009


This is now my desktop wallpaper. Love it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:07 AM on September 13, 2009


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