Divers in Mexico have discovered world’s largest known flooded cave which is spread across 347 kilometres. The ancient cave is a system of two of the largest cavern and connected by the Great Maya Aquifer.
The underwater exploration group of the Great Maya Aquifer Project (GAM), managed to connect this on Wednesday, January 10, two of the largest flooded cavern systems on Earth— known as Sac Actun and Dos Ojos—which makes them the largest flooded cave in the world.
The team of divers was working on the project underwater from the last 10-months. The exploration was conducted in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
The exploration team said, “Until a couple of days ago, the Ox Bel Ha System, located south of Tulum, was the longest with 270 kilometers; the Sac Actun System, located northeast of Tulum, had 263 km and was in second place in extension. The third on the list is the Kook Baal System with 93 km and the fourth was the Dos Ojos System, which had 83 km; the latter is now added to the Sac Actun System, as a result of this intensive exploration.”
“According to the rules of caving, when two cave systems are connected, the largest cave absorbs the smallest, so the name of the latter disappears. Thus, the Sac Actun System is now considered the largest in the world, with a length of 347 kilometers of flooded cave, the distance between Cancun and Chetumal, approximately. Therefore, the name of the Two Eyes System ceases to exist.”
According to the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey, there are 358 cave systems north of Quintana Roo which if successfully connected could be 1400 kilometres long.
The new goal of the team is to connect Sac Actun with the other three underwater cave systems, which are very close to each other, located in the municipality of Tulum.
"This is an effort of more than 20 years, to travel hundreds of kilometers of caves submerged in Quintana Roo mainly, of which I dedicated 14 years to explore this monstrous Sac Actun System; now everyone's job is to keep it," says Robert Schmittner, exploration director of the project.The cave is the place where ancient civilisation existed. "This immense cave represents the most important archaeological site in the world, as it has more than a hundred archaeological contexts, among which are evidence of the first settlers of America, as well as extinct fauna and, of course, the Mayan culture," says Guillermo de Anda, researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History and director of the Great Maya Aquifer.