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Featured Exhibit: Bisbee’s Crystal Caves

Can you find all eight miners in the cave photo?

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before
after

Bisbee’s Crystal Caves

Imagine the dim, grimy, back-breaking labor of an underground miner in the late 1800s.

Your only light source is a candle, and your eyes have adjusted to the gloom. When the smoke clears from the last dynamite blast, you see an opening in the solid rock ahead of you. You stick your candle into the crevice and peer inside. A vast and wondrous cavern opens in the flickering light—one of Bisbee’s magnificent crystal caves. Crystalline white stalactites hang from above, the walls molded in rich blues and greens of azurite and malachite, it is a sight to inspire fables.

Alas, most of the caves were destroyed as the miners removed the rich copper ore around them, and the caves that survived are no longer accessible, but some of the gorgeous mineral specimens from the caves still inspire awe.

Miners working for Phelps Dodge inside a Bisbee cave.

 


Malachite is just one mineral that adorned the caves of Bisbee.