Thanks to the 13,200 gallons (55,000 liters) of water pumped out of the mine every minute, the acres surrounding the mountain have been rendered ready for farminga rarity in Naica mountain's Chihuahuan Desert setting
This same epic pumping operation makes it possible for humans to study the Cave of Crystals. If the pumping is stopped, the caves will again be submerged, and the crystals will start growing again.
So what happens if—or when—the mine is closed?
"Should we continue to pump water to keep the cave available so future generations may admire the crystals?" geologist Juan Manuel García-Ruiz said. "Or should we stop pumping and return the scenario to the natural origin, allowing the crystals to regrow?"