Archaeologists discover world's biggest flooded cave

Jan 19, 2018 14:52 IST
Archaeologists discover world's biggest flooded cave

A group of archaeologist has discovered the world’s biggest flooded cave in Mexico. The researchers connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet.

The discovery is an important archaeological find, as it could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilization.

The Discovery

• According to a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula, the Great Maya Aquifer Project (GAM), the 347-km long cave was identified after months of exploring a maze of underwater channels.

• During the intense exploration efforts, the group of researchers found that a cave system known as Sac Actun, which once measured around 262 km, connected with the 83-km long Dos Ojos cave system.

• The gigantic passage is so big that it was actually thought to be two different cave systems. The Dos Ojos cave system spanning around 83 km was thought initially to be distinct from Sac Actun.  

• Under the rules of caving, however, Sac Actun now absorbs Dos Ojos and its former length to form the world’s largest known underwater cave, beating the Ox Bel Ha System that held the title earlier with a total estimated length of 270 km.

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According to GAM director and underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda, the find would help to understand the development of the rich culture of the region, which was dominated by the Maya civilization before the Spanish conquest.

He said that the cave represents the most important submerged archaeological site in the world. He said that the discovery will help them understand more clearly how the rituals, the pilgrimage sites and ultimately the great pre-Hispanic settlements emerged.

GAM

The Great Maya Aquifer Project is a research effort, which has for decades explored the underwater caves in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The region hosts a stunning 358 submerged cave systems, representing some 1,400 km of flooded freshwater tunnels hidden under the surface.

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