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World's Deepest Underwater Cave Discovered

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Artemis
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« on: October 01, 2016, 06:35:45 pm »



Cave diving can be extremely perilous. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 runeng
Divers have discovered an underwater cave in the Czech Republic which descends to a depth of 1,325ft.
Venturing through cramped, pitch black corridors of rock deep below the ground might seem like a terrifying ordeal at the best of times, but imagine donning scuba gear and attempting to dive down beneath the surface of an underwater cave... it's enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic.

For Polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski however it's all in a day's work, and now this intrepid cave explorer has managed to identify an underwater sanctum that is deeper than any other on Earth.

Situated in the Czech Republic, the cave, which is known as Hranicka Propast, was first explored back in 1999, but now following a two-year expedition, divers have discovered that it actually descends as far down as 1,325ft, making it the deepest underwater cave in the world.

Reaching the bottom was no easy task, especially as it is only possible for a diver to descend to around 400m using conventional scuba gear. To explore the rest of the cave, the team used a remote-operated exploration vehicle.

"My intention was not to achieve the deepest dive by a human, but to assist the exploration by the ROV," said Starnawski. "In this cave we wanted to explore beyond the 400-meter limit."

"It can't be done, so far, by a scuba diver in the cave. So I invited Bartlomiej Grynda from GRAL marine, with his custom-built ROV, to send the robot as deep as possible to explore the cave."

The team found fallen trees and branches resting on the cave floor which suggested that this immense cavern, which is thought to be part of a natural fault line, has been changing shape.

"The results were astonishing," said Starnawski.
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