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Five new cenotes have been discovered in Mexico!

In the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located in the east of the country, a series of surprising and unprecedented discoveries have been made. Underwater photographer Rodrigo Friscione has located five unknown freshwater cenotes beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea! Scientists hypothesise that they are connected to a system of caves located on the
Published: August 5, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:36
Five new cenotes have been discovered in Mexico!

In the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located in the east of the country, a series of surprising and unprecedented discoveries have been made. Underwater photographer Rodrigo Friscione has located five unknown freshwater cenotes beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea! Scientists hypothesise that they are connected to a system of caves located on the mainland.

Mexico, and more specifically the Yucatan Peninsula, are known in the diving world for their fabulous cenotes, which are in fact natural studies and karst funnels, formed in limestone rocks. Frequently visited and explored by divers from all over the world, they impress with their beauty in countless photographs. However, until now, no cenotes have ever been found in the sea.

Mexican-born photographer Rodrigo Friscione made his discovery in 2016, but until now the whole thing had been kept secret. The international Spanish news agency EFE was the first to report everything, revealing at the same time plans to carry out a professional scientific expedition to investigate the newly discovered cenotes.

new cenote on Isla Mujeres Caribbean Sea divers24.pl
Photo from one of the newly discovered cenotes on Isla Mujeres photo by Rodrigo Friscione

Friscione was diving off the north-east coast of the state of Quintana Roo, where he found the first cenote located between the islands of Mujeres and Contoy. He plunged into what he later described as an “infinite hole” in the seabed. This was not the end of the surprises, however. The photographer soon realised that not only was there no bottom, but that the water inside was much colder and appeared to be flowing.

He came across the same phenomenon again while diving in the area in 2017. In turn, two years later he found three more previously unknown cenotes. The discovery is remarkable, as until now these formations had not been encountered outside the Yucatan Peninsula. However, it was quickly hypothesised that these are cenotes that were on the mainland thousands of years ago, but were ripped from it as sea levels rose.

The cenotes were supposed to be explored and mapped this year, during a scientific expedition conducted by the Great Mayan Aquifer Project. Unfortunately, the whole undertaking did not materialise due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit Mexico particularly hard. However, as soon as the situation allows, detailed research will be carried out, and the famous underwater explorer Robert Ballard has already confirmed his support and provision of ROVs and AUVs.

The vehicles are to be used to carry out reconnaissance before divers enter the cave system. Although exploration will be carried out using closed circuits, which will significantly increase the amount of time divers will be able to spend underwater, it is important to remember that the length and depth of the new cenotes are still unknown.

Source: EFE

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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