Skip to comments.Longest underground river found
Posted on 03/02/2007 7:35:36 AM PST by driftdiver
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Cave divers in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula have discovered what may be the world's longest underground river, connecting two cave systems with a waterway at least 95 miles long.
A group of foreign divers exploring the area near the Caribbean beach resort of Playa del Carmen have yet to name the stretch, but believe it could be connected to two other major systems, adding more than 125 miles to its length.
"It's a bit of the Star Trek syndrome: the thrill of exploration, to go where no one has gone before," said diver Steve Bogaerts, who helped find the underground river.
Prior to the discovery, the Palawan underground river in the Philippines and Vietnam's Son Trach River vied for the record as the world's longest.
The area in southeast Mexico is home to tourist resorts Cancun and Cozumel, as well as Mayan ruins Chichen Itza and Tulum. It sits on a Swiss-cheese subsoil of limestone dotted with deep wells that are entrances to tunnels that have fascinated divers for decades.
The local tourism board said 24,000 visitors went diving in the caves last year.
I thought Clive Cussler discovered and documented this already.
"A group of foreign divers exploring the area..."
I guess all the Mexican divers are in the USA.
"I thought Clive Cussler discovered and documented this already."
Could be, but I'm not a cave diving guru. The idea of being in a rock tomb without air scares me more then the sharks that exist in the open water.
Cool! I hope it gets a cool name that I can pass along to my environmental science students. I can only say "Oogalala Aquifer" so many times (which is *too* many for them).
"I guess all the Mexican divers are in the USA."
Doing the diving Americans won't do.
Seriously, American cave divers are very active in Mexico. The Yucatan is underlain by a most remarkable aquifer that explorers are systematically documenting. Some groups are using cutting edge (civilian) rebreathers and spending up to 18-hours underground and underwater. There are Mayan artifacts and ancient animal bones to find. It is all very exciting if one enjoys that kind of thing.
cool. bump for later reading
A question for you or anyone:
Did the impact from 65 million years ago create the conditions for these underwater caves and rivers?
I am not about to start cave diving. I was a bit nervous on my first wreck dive in St Lucia.
Mexico is so cool (geographically). Check out the BBC series "Planet Earth: Caves" for some great footage of Mexican caves and underground rivers. Amazing stuff.
"Did the impact from 65 million years ago create the conditions for these underwater caves and rivers?"
That's a great question that I don't know the answer to. From my reading it is clear that the underwater caves were above the water-table at some point.
Note: this topic is from . Thanks driftdiver.
YES! If you look at a map of the sacred cenotes, they form an arc centered on Chixulub:
More details Radar topography reveals the 180 km (110 mi) ring of the crater; clustered around the crater's trough are numerous sinkholes, suggesting a prehistoric oceanic basin in the depression left by the impact (Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech).
I don't see any relationship. The underlying rock in this area is limestone and the numerous caves in he region are caused by slightly acidic water. The limestone is soluble in acid and over time it's eaten away creating enormous caves, sinkholes and underground river systems. It's called Karst topography. Most of the world's large cave systems have been created by the same process.
He gave all the credit to Dirk Pitt. :)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.