Mining is a very comprehensive process. Workers will usually work to extract valuable minerals from the Earth’s surface, to be processed for various purposes later on. Every now and again, however, there are certain strange things found in mines that raise eyebrows.
Although they may not be blatantly discernable upon first glance, future investigation results in some surprising answers. These items may be extremely valuable, seriously weird, or perhaps even both. Since our planet has been along far longer than we have, there will be a lot more strange discoveries to be made. As underground mining technology continues to evolve, there could be more and more strange things found in mines.
The following list contains six of the strangest things found in mines. Hopefully, in time, these strange things found in mines will provide us with more answers than questions.
1. Klerksdorp Spheres
Found in pyrophyllite mines in South Africa, the origin of these strange small objects have been a constant source of debate between researchers. Klerksdorp spheres are rounded with very distinguishable grooves on the surface. This makes the object appear to have been sculpted by prehistoric humans.
However, researchers have noted that the spheres are approximately three billion years old. This precedes any sort of intelligent being who could have had the capacity to craft it. Some geologists think that the spheres are actually volcanic sediments, but it is fun to believe that they have been created by aliens!
2. Salt Cathedral Of Zipaquirá
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is an underrated tourist attraction, with most not knowing of its existence at all. Found in Columbia, near the city of Zipaquirá, the Cathedral is an underground Roman Catholic Church that was excavated from a salt mine more than half a century ago. It is completely made out of salt, located almost five-hundred and ninety feet below the ground.
The mines were a prime source of economic activity since the fifth century BCE, but future excavating resulted in two cathedrals. The older one was shut down in 1992 due to safety concerns, while the more recent one opened up in 1995. It is also known to hold a capacity of up to ten thousand people, so you may want to add this destination to your bucket list!
3. Cave Of The Crystals
Similar to the Salt Cathedral, there is a certain cave found in Mexico that contains some pretty strange things found in mines. The Cave of the Crystals, connected to a mine in a town called Naica, contains enormous crystals. They are generally longer than most crystals excavated, with the largest one discovered being fifty-five tons in weight!
The cave itself was discovered by miners in the early twentieth century, and was, at first, inaccessible due to the hot temperature. However, it is speculated that, due to flooding, water rich in minerals spurred the growth of the crystals. The crystals themselves are so pure, that scientists can’t figure out their actual age yet using the tools available.
4. 300 Million Year Old Aluminum
Aluminum, on the surface, is nothing relatively special. But what happens when a piece of the metal was determined to be aged more than three-hundred million years? That may turn some heads. A shiny, rod-like object was once discovered by a Russian coal miner, which was not readily distinguishable at first.
Once the miner broke it open, a gear shift-looking object was discovered. The strangeness only increases when it was dated to be over three-hundred million years old, being made almost entirely of aluminum. Some experts, as a result, believe that these strange things found can’t be of an earthly origin.
5. Wolfsegg Iron
Strange objects that are more than millions of years in age are more prevalent than you’d initially think. Also known as the Salzburg Cube, the Wolfsegg Iron is a tiny piece of iron found in a lump of coal in Wolfsegg am Hausruck, Austria. The object itself, like the Klerksdorp sphere, is covered in strange craters and idents, giving it a mysterious appearance.
Researchers have noted it is almost six million years old. Scientists theorized that it was once part of a meteor, but tests have proven that assumption to be incorrect. The Wolfsegg Iron, as a result, still perplexes researchers and scientists alike to this day.
6. Tiny Primate Fossil
One of the most, if not the most, mysterious things found in a mine is a fossilized jaw. Scientists speculate that the jaw belongs to a miniature-sized primate named Krabia minuta, a classification of primates native to Asia. The species was believed to have been alive almost thirty-five million years ago, with the jaw itself being unearthed in a Thai coal mine.
What makes this mystery even more bewildering is the fact that researchers aren’t sure how these primates crossed the sea. The Krabia minuta was thought to have originated from Asia, before somehow ending up in African areas. Archaeologists believe that continued research on the fossil can one day provide insight into primate evolution.