These Ones Are Really Big

From href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070409-crystal-cave.html">National
Geographic:



April
9, 2007—Geologist Juan Manuel García-Ruiz
calls it "the Sistine Chapel of crystals," but Superman could call it
home.



A sort of south-of-the-border Fortress of Solitude, Mexico's Cueva de
los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) contains some of the world's largest
known natural crystals—translucent beams of gypsum as long as
36 feet (11 meters)...


i-5a5beb95f5124af80dc3f388bd25aa33-070409-crystal-cave.jpg



Apparently
a mining operation pumped water out of a cave, and this is what they
found.  The story of the discovery of the caves is href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070406-giant-crystals.html">here.
 The geologist has told the mining company it should preserve
the caves.  I don't think they are obligated to do so, but it
would be a tragedy if they did not.



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I'm wondering if this phrase "These ones are big" is a Michigan colloquialism. I'm from northern Ohio originally, and I'm not sure if I heard or said "These ones..." as a child.

Perhaps it is. Until you said something, it never occurred to me that there is something odd about the expression. But of course it really should be "this one" or "these". I think it implies that the "ones" are not all the same (they are all big, but differ in size), or are being compared to another set that is different: "these ones are big; while these others are small."

That's amazing!

I wonder how difficult it would be to preserve the structures -- is the whole area a mining zone, or is this an exploratory mine?

A part of me says, "To what end?" Is there something that is intrinsically of some worth that they should be saved?

As a general rule, oddities of nature sometimes can teach us something. I would trust the geologists to tell us if something can be learned from them. Or it could be a tourist attraction, perhaps bringing needed revenue to some people. Is that enough justification? Depends on the cost of preserving them, I guess.