I have uploaded an shorter and less broad Question which is largely the same but requires a different kind of answer. What i want to say is that i re-asked my question in a different way because i do not want to delete the answers i got here so far and because the answered also would be incorrect in the context of my re-asked and re-written question link: Which crystals can exist permanently (and do not break down) under normal earth like outside conditions?

Hi I am not really all that well versed in chemistry or molecules for that matter but I am trying to find a way to "create" a scientific and realistic (trough probably unlikely) world with large crystal formations on the surface. The reason I want this is because I want to create a species for my novel that has its culture based around the large crystal formations living on the planet.

Now to limit my question a bit I would like the answer to these two points:

  • What kind of crystal(s).
  • How do you think the process should work.
  • What limitations it creates.

The criteria are that:

  • The crystals must be permanent without breaking down in normal earth conditions/atmosphere.
  • Preferably no interference required by intelligent lifeforms.
  • There will be oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • They must be able to grow quite large. I’m thinking about large hexagonal crystal columns.

What are the tools?:

Well you can more or less use anything in nature, you can make suns explode if need be. But a more probable start would be selecting the chemical composition and what would be needed to form crystals from that point.

For instance if you need a long period of very high heat and then cooling down to “normal” temperatures you can make the system sun go red giant and heating the planet before becoming a white dwarf.

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    $\begingroup$ On one hand, this has chemical relevance. On the other hand, why didn't you post it at Worldbuilding.SE? $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Dec 19 '16 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ Something like titular "Pillars of Eternity"? $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Dec 19 '16 at 22:39
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    $\begingroup$ @TheRWS96 Some of the answers I've seen on WB.SE are heavily scientific, and in general quite reasonably adherent to actual scientific principles. I think you might be pleasantly surprised with the responses you'll get there. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Dec 20 '16 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ I've edited the more explicit requirements given in a repost of your question into this one. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Dec 21 '16 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ TheRWS96, I strongly suggest you post this on WB.SE. That site's express purpose is the sort of speculation you're looking for. Chem.SE's on-topic policies require much more specificity than suits your question. Further, if you repost there, you could always edit your question here to link to the WB.SE post. That way, people browsing Chem.SE would be more likely to find the WB.SE post, and answer there. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Dec 21 '16 at 14:26

Do you mind a scenario somewhat less dramatic than exploding suns? ;)

  1. Just let selenite ($\ce{CaSO4*2H2O}$) cristallize very slowly und undisturbed in a system of caves for a long time.

  2. Let the inhabitants of your world discover the cave system or let parts of the cave system collape to make it more accessible.

A model for this already exists: the Cave of the Crystals, connected to the Naica mine in Mexico.


Note that I'm not a geoscientist, but to me, large hexagonal columns that can exist under earth's atmosphere cry basalt, which in turn indicates vulcanic activities.

The English wikipedia has a list columnar structures resulting from vulcanism. Some examples are

  • $\begingroup$ I read about that cave but i have also read that the crystals slowly deteriorate when exposed to air otherwise i would have used that as a template. It's unfortunately but i really need the crystals to be permanent otherwise i cant use them the way i want to. $\endgroup$ – TheRWS96 Dec 19 '16 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ (In reaction to the update) Hmm cool it gives me some ideas Thanks $\endgroup$ – TheRWS96 Dec 21 '16 at 9:55

One option could be copper sulfate (CuSO4), which forms large, blue crystals. Roger Hiorns' installation coated the inside of a London apartment with it.

You can form CuSO4 by reacting solid copper (Cu(s)) with sulfuric acid (H2SO4):

Cu(s) + H2SO4 (aq) --> CuSO4 (aq) + H2(g)

Ways this could occur:

  • There exist naturally-occurring sulfuric acid springs, such as in Yellowstone. Take a naturally-occuring copper vein and stick it in a sulfuric acid pool, you'll get CuSO4 dissolved in the water. Let the water slowly evaporate over time, and you'll get copper sulfate crystals. (This could happen above or below ground.)
  • Mining run-off is often acidic, containing sulfuric acid. Stick it next to a copper vein, and similarly you'll have copper sulfate. This requires some intelligent life at some point, to build the mine, but it could be abandoned/post-apocalyptic.

Edit: Note: you need a very dry environment for this, as they are water-soluble!


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