Divers in Mexico have discovered the largest underground flooded cave in the world. The discovery could reveal more about the ancient pre-Hispanic community that existed in the region. The Yucatan peninsula, where the cave is located, still preserves the treasures of the ancient Mayan community.
The cave is formed by two massive underwater caverns that are connected. The cave extends through 216 miles, according to the Great Maya Aquifer (GAM), the team of explorers who discovered the cave.
The cave was discovered near the resort of Tulum, reported Reuters. The two caves, Sac Actun and Dos Ojos, measured 163 miles and 52 miles, respectively. Until the discovery of the connection between the two caves, the largest underwater cave in the world was Ox Bel Ha, which stretched 168 miles long, according to the National Speleological Society. But now, the Sac Actun cave system is the largest underwater cave known on Earth.
The discovery "allows us to appreciate much more clearly how the rituals, the sites of pilgrimage and, finally, the large pre-Hispanic settlements that we know they emerged, "said Guillermo de Anda, director of GAM Reuters. He called it a "surprising" find that would help better understand the Mayan civilization.
The discovery is the result of decades of work traveling hundreds of miles of underwater caves in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico, according to exploration director Robert Schmittner. Schmittner has been exploring the Sac Actun cave for 14 years. "Now," Schmittner said in a statement, "everyone's job is to keep it."