The Other Crystal Cave — Pack Your Canoe

In the spring of 1910, miners of the Lincoln Mine in nearby Duenweg set off a charge in the walls of the mine.  The earth shuddered and thunder rumbled from the earth instead of the sky.  Then something not quite expected happened, water poured out of the breach in the wall and flooded the mine.  As a precaution, the miners had set off the charges from a safe distance and the subterranean flood caused only disruption of mining activities and no physical harm.

In the weeks that followed the water was pumped out and finally miners with their sunshine lamps beamed light into what appeared to be a cavern 240 feet beneath the earth.  The light glistened off of walls and a ceiling of calcite crystals and the reflective surface of an underground lake.  The lake ran north south within the crystal cavern that averaged forty feet in width and fifty feet in height.  The miners quickly hauled down a canoe with which to explore the length of the lake and noted that the cave’s “beauty far eclipses anything heretofore discovered in the district.”  The exploration was short lived as a “monster tiff crystal” suddenly detached from the ceiling and smashed through the middle of the miners’ craft.

As the water continued to be pumped, the lake receded from a pitched ceiling of razor sharp crystals and the miners slowly gained more and more access to the lake via both canoe and by foot.  Eventually, as such barriers as the sharp crystals and the dark waters presented fully pinpointing the cave’s end, the miners believed the cavern ran from at least 800 feet to thousands of feet into the earth.  While the ground was probed for zinc or lead, the mining company ran into the problem of falling crystals.  Every shot and blast from elsewhere in the mine or neighboring mines shook the earth and caused the razor edged calcite crystals to plummet from the ceiling.  For at least then, the miners had to settle for a bounty of beauty, if not jack and lead.

The present state of this other crystal cave is unknown, but like its better known associate within Joplin’s city limits, its likely once again filled with water, perhaps someday to be plied again by canoe.

Source: Joplin News Herald

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