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Latest Cenote Stories

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2011-02-07 09:05:00

Illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, highway chemicals and other substances have polluted the large aquifer beneath the "Riviera Maya" in Mexico, researchers reported in Sunday's edition of the journal Environmental Pollution. Water-filled caves resting below the popular tourist destination in the Yucatan Peninsula have been contaminated, and the polluted water flows through those caverns and into the Caribbean Sea, according to a press release from United Nation's University (UNU)....

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2010-07-26 10:40:00

Steering clear of crocodiles and navigating around massive submerged trees, a team of divers began mapping some of the 25 freshwater pools of Cara Blanca, Belize, which were important to the ancient Maya. In three weeks this May, the divers found fossilized animal remains, bits of pottery and "“ in the largest pool explored "“ an enormous underwater cave. This project, led by University of Illinois anthropology professor Lisa Lucero and funded by the National Geographic Society...

2009-09-09 12:24:38

A University of Illinois archaeologist says she will lead a team that will be the first to explore the sacred pools of the southern Mayan lowlands in Belize. Professor Lisa Lucero said she will lead a team of expert divers, a geochemist and an archaeologist in the expedition, funded by the National Geographic Society, to investigate the cultural significance and environmental history and condition of three of the 23 pools of Cara Blanca, in central Belize. The groundwater-filled sinkholes in...

2008-09-11 12:00:21

With no buildings over three stories in height, only two main streets in the entire town, and a beautiful white sand coastline, it's easy to unwind in the former fishing village of Puerto Morelos. The town's relaxing atmosphere, charming boutique hotels and natural beauty have inspired its nickname, "The Jewel of the Caribbean." Puerto Morelos' spectacular beaches are ideal for spending a lazy afternoon in this picturesque town which has maintained its fishing village ambiance while...

2008-01-23 13:05:00

The ancient Mayans may not have sacrificed virgin girls as previously thought; instead, bones reveal that they may have been young boys instead. The ancient Mayans had many temples and palaces in Mexico and Central America; these temples had priests, and the priests had to make sacrifices. In the city of Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula priests sacrificed children by throwing them into underwater caves called cenotes. These sacrifices were often to the rain gods in order to have fertile...

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2007-03-08 11:55:00

AUSTIN, Texas -- Scientists return this week to the world's deepest known sinkhole, Cenote Zacat³n in Mexico, to resume tests of a NASA-funded robot called DEPTHX, designed to survey and explore for life in one of Earth's most extreme regions and potentially in outer space. If all goes well with this second round of testing and exploration, the team will return in May for a full-scale exploration of the Zacat³n system. Sinking more than 1,000 feet, Zacat³n has only been...

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2007-02-28 12:01:01

Carnegie Mellon navigation, mapping software passes Mexican field test PITTSBURGH -- An underwater robot, shaped like a flattened orange, maneuvered untethered and autonomously within a 115-meter-deep sinkhole during tests this month in Mexico, a prelude to its mission to probe the mysterious nether reaches of the world's deepest sinkhole. Bill Stone, leader of the NASA-funded Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) mission, said the 2.5-meter-diameter vehicle performed "phenomenally well"...

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2006-03-20 08:45:00

By Tim Gaynor TULUM, Mexico -- The ancient Maya once believed that Mexico's jungle sinkholes containing crystalline waters were the gateway to the underworld and the lair of a surly rain god who had to be appeased with human sacrifices. Now, the "cenotes," deep sinkholes in limestone that have pools at the bottom, are yielding scientific discoveries including possible life-saving cancer treatments. Divers are dipping into the cenotes, which stud the Yucatan peninsula, to explore a vast...

2006-03-20 08:20:00

By Tim Gaynor TULUM, Mexico (Reuters) - The ancient Maya once believed that Mexico's jungle sinkholes containing crystalline waters were the gateway to the underworld and the lair of a surly rain god who had to be appeased with human sacrifices. Now, the "cenotes," deep sinkholes in limestone that have pools at the bottom, are yielding scientific discoveries including possible life-saving cancer treatments. Divers are dipping into the cenotes, which stud the Yucatan peninsula, to explore a...