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Explorers in Mexico Discover World's Largest Underwater Cave and It's Filled Wit

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Author Topic: Explorers in Mexico Discover World's Largest Underwater Cave and It's Filled Wit  (Read 143 times)
Twilight of the Gods
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« on: January 18, 2018, 01:08:45 pm »

Explorers in Mexico Discover World's Largest Underwater Cave and It's Filled With Ancient Mayan Treasures

Sydney Pereira

Newsweek18 January 2018

Divers in Mexico have discovered the largest known underwater, flooded cave in the world. The discovery could reveal more about the pre-Hispanic, ancient community that existed in the region. The Yucatan peninsula, where the cave is located, still holds treasures from the ancient Mayan community.

The cave is made of two massive underwater caverns that are connected. The cave stretches across 216 miles, according to the Gran Acuífero Maya (GAM), the team of explorers who discovered the cave.

The cave was discovered near the beach resort of Tulum, reported Reuters. The two caves, Sac Actun and Dos Ojos, measured at 163 miles and 52 miles, respectively. Until the discovery of the connection between the two caves, the largest underwater cave in the world was the Ox Bel Ha, which stretched 168 miles long, according to the National Speleological Society. But now, the Sac Actun cave system is the largest known underwater cave on Earth.

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 Tourists enjoy the beach in Tulum National Park, Quintana Roo state, Mexico on March 22, 2017.   Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images   

The discovery "allows us to appreciate much more clearly how the rituals, the pilgrimage sites and ultimately the great pre-Hispanic settlements that we know emerged," Guillermo de Anda, director of the GAM, told Reuters. He called it an "amazing" find that would help to better understand the Maya civilization.

The discovery is the result of decades of work touring hundreds of miles of underwater caves in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, according to the exploration director, Robert Schmittner. Schmittner has been exploring the Sac Actun cave for 14 years. "Now," Schmittner said in a statement, "everyone's job is to conserve it."

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Herbert Meyrl copy

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Herbert Meyrl copy
 The largest underwater cave in the world was discovered in Mexico by explorers from the Gran Acuífero Maya.   Herbert Meyrl/Gran Acuífero Maya   

Finding a cave such as this one would have required "painstaking exploration," according to Thomas Iliffe, marine biologist who studies marine life in underwater caves from the University of Texas A&M at Galveston. The complex tunnels branch off in different directions, there are lower and upper level passages and getting lost can be fatal. “These are really maze-like systems,” Iliffe, who was not involved with this discovery told Newsweek.
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