Mexican Cenotes: a unique ecosystem
In the peninsula of Yucatan (Mexico), over the centuries, a combination of events and climate change has determined the creation of an ecosystem which has no parallels in the world: the Mexican cenotes and underwater rivers.
I understand why the Mayan kept those places secret and considered them sacred. From outside, cenotes appear as common water ponds, but every time I dive, they reveal to me a rare and magnificent world.
The Mexican cenotes are "windows" created by fractures in weak points in the earth crust and allow us to access the underground system of caves which spread over a wide area.
The origin of Cenotes
During the prehistory period the region of Yucatan was completely submerged by the tropical sea. Then Oceans began to reduce, allowing the actual peninsula emerge. During the following centuries, the ground (which was rich in marine sediments) became compact and formed a vast carsic platform. The carbon dioxide brought by the rain began to dissolve the rocks and created a vast network of caves and underground passages.
During the last glacial period the level of the Oceans fell 300 feet, leaving the caves dry. Water changed its features and from a destructive force became a slow constructive force, transporting the calcium carbonate along the cielings of the caves, creating astonishing stalactites and stalagmites. When, 18.000 years ago, the earth climate started to warm up, the glaciers started to melt, the caves flooded and the formations now gave us a photo of an environment frozen for millions of years.
Underwater diving: the exploration of the Cenotes
The Yucatan Cenotes are a real natural treasure, wonderful repositories of geological, archaeological, historical and biological information. In recent years, the most advanced tools and technologies for underwater diving, ultimate gas mix and professional equipment made it possibile to carry out new and challenging explorations many kilometres from the entrance. In the last two decades more than 100 cenotes systems (600 km of underwater passages) were explored. The Cenotes, with their secrets, their natural and archaeological wonders, offer the opportunity to live an adventure inside a unique environment which is at the same time hostile and extremely beautiful.