Extreme Science Home
Home   |   Animal Kingdom   |   Earth   |   Ocean   |   Resources  |   Space   |   Time   |   Weather   |   Science Tutors  |   About

Home > Earth > Earth Records > Deepest Cave Tour > Bottle Brush Crystal

Bottle Brush Crystal

This crystal is called a Bottle Brush for some pretty obvious reasons - it looks like a bottle brush! This crystal was formed out of a common mineral called aragonite, but this is a pretty uncommon formation. The shape a crystal takes while it is forming is determined by two things: (click on the photo to enlarge it)

1) its INTERNAL arrangement of atoms and molecules
2) the EXTERNAL forces restricting or redirecting the crystal's growth.

Picture of Bottle Brush CrystalInside the caves here there are no external limitations on the crystals that form because they are forming inside open space. (Many crystals on this earth form while cooling inside lava, so they are restrained by the surrounding rock.) Water dripping from the ceiling of the cave over thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of years slowly deposited microscopic amounts of the minerals dissolved in the water. Each time a drop of water passed over the same spot it would leave a little mineral behind, allowing the crystal to grow unchecked by external forces.

The crystal that you see here took thousands of years to grow. If you look closely at the bottom you'll notice a drop of water suspended on the tip of the crystal. The crystal is still growing, right before your eyes!

Come on, we've got a lot more climbing and hiking to do before we get to the next cool formation...the Chandelier Ballroom

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer


World's Biggest Snake
Giant Squid
Hottest Place on Earth
Deepest Place in the Ocean

Deepest Cave
Giant Cave Crystals
Chandelier Ballroom
Cave Pearls
Deepest Ocean
Exploring the Deep
Lowest Elevation


Anaconda vs. Piranha
Challenger Deep
Colossal Squid
Deepest Fish
Goliath Tarantula Hunt
Great White Shark

Copyright © 1998-2015. Extreme Science is a registered trademark. All rights reserved.
tNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();