FunNature & AnimalThey find the largest underwater cave in the world

They find the largest underwater cave in the world

The underwater exploration group of the Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM) project, has discovered after 10 months of intensive exploration, the largest archaeological site in the world by connecting the flooded cavern systems of Sac Actun and Dos Ojos in Tulum, in Quintana Roo ( México), which offers us a gigantic cave of 347 kilometers. Without a doubt it is an underwater wonderland.

With 347 kilometers of underground caverns, this forking and sinking labyrinth is not only a natural spectacle, but also an important archaeological find that could reveal the lost secrets of the ancient Mayan civilization.

This phase of the exploration project began in March 2017 but the director of the Great Mayan Aquifer project, Robert Schmittner, has been searching for this connection for 14 years and adding new tunnels and galleries to this underwater labyrinthine wonder. Divers finally managed to connect two of the largest flooded cave systems on Earth on January 10, making this place the largest flooded cave in the world.

According to caving rules, when two cave systems are connected, the larger cave absorbs the smaller one, so the latter’s name disappears. Thus, the Sac Actun System is now considered the largest in the world; therefore, the name of the Two-Eye System ceases to exist.

T he underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda, from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico, affirms that this immense cave represents the most important submerged archaeological site in the world with more than a hundred archaeological contexts: the first settlers of America, extinct fauna and the Mayan culture.

“It was like trying to follow the veins inside a body. It was a maze of paths that sometimes joined and sometimes separated. You had to be very careful,” says Schmittner.

The Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, is home to an impressive 358 submerged cave systems, representing some 1,400 kilometers of freshwater flooded tunnels hidden below the surface, according to data from the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey. .

In addition, the GAM exploration group registered another important system with a length of 18 km so far called “The mother of all cenotes” whose maximum depth is 20 meters and is located north of Sac Actun. Divers will likely end up being able to connect it to the Sac Actun System as well.


The search is not over. The objective is now to connect Sac Actun with the other three underwater cave systems, which are very close to each other, specifically in the municipality of Tulum. Not only will the upcoming dives shed light on how deep you see, but the scientific implications could be as massive as the cave itself.

The researchers hope to analyze the water quality of the massive cave and study its biodiversity.


Images credit: Herbert Meyrl / GAM Project

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