Camila Villafañe

By Camila Villafañe

LifeBuzz Staff

Under World’s Deepest Cave, These Divers Found Something Even Greater…

The 10-Year Search

The 10-Year Search

Herbert Meyrl/Proyecto GAM

Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a subaquatic exploration team, had been working to find something for over a decade, and on January 10, 2018, their search was over. The team discovered two underwater caverns in Tulum, Mexico that are interconnected. Together, the two systems make up the world's largest underwater cave. But this find was not an easy task.

Natural Charm

Natural Charm

The Yucatan Times

"Cenotes" is the Mayan word for natural sinkholes, which happens to be one of the unique features found in the Riviera Maya. These holes were caused by the cave ceiling's collapse, which expose the groundwater below. Cenotes are naturally beautiful and crystalline. They're also geological testament to the history of the archeological region where they were created. In fact, if you're looking for more Cenotes, then the Yucatan Peninsula has plenty of them.

Plenty Of Caverns

Plenty Of Caverns

Karla Ortega/Proyecto GAM

The Quintana Roo Speleological Survey suggests that there are over 10,000 cenotes in the entire Yucatan Peninsula, which provide several interconnecting underwater caves. But fourteen years ago, German explorer Rober Schmittner and his GAM team went out to explore in the hopes of finding one of these amazing connections.

Challenging Mission

Challenging Mission

Gran Acuifero Maya

The GAM team led by Schmittner acquired maps of Sac Actun and Dos Ojos, two large underwater caves, in Tulum, a tourist town. The maps revealed that there was once cave inside another, but explorers couldn't find the junction. They only stumbled on walls of rock, because the twists and turns of the labyrinth hid the juncture. But even as mapping technology advanced, actual diving was still the best option.

It Was A Daily Risk

It Was A Daily Risk

Gran Acuifero Maya

The most recent GAM project was headed by research director Guillermo De Anda, and they found the junction. For the next ten months, they dove a few hours at a time, and they used a lifeline, and used an unspooled reel to calculate the distance using knots. They also recorded the direction and angles of the reel with a compass. The work was dangerous and hard too.

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