Sistema Sac Actun
|Sistema Sac Actun|
|Location||Tulum Municipality, Quintana Roo, Mexico|
|Depth||101.2 meters (332 ft)|
|Length||underwater: 259.471 kilometers (161.228 mi)
total: 346.740 kilometers (215.454 mi)
|Discovery||November 26, 1987|
|Difficulty||Advanced cave diving|
Sistema Sac Actun (from Spanish and Yucatec Maya meaning "White Cave System") is an underwater cave system situated along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula with passages to the north and west of the village of Tulum. It is believed to be the world's largest underwater cave system currently (2018) known to exist.
History of exploration
Sac Actun measured 230.8 kilometers (143.4 mi) (after connecting Sistema Aktun Hu with 34 kilometers (21 mi) in January 2011) and is as of May 2017 with an explored length of 259.5 kilometers (161.2 mi) only surpassed by Sistema Ox Bel Ha at 270.2 kilometers (167.9 mi). Since early 2007, these two caves frequently exchanged the title of the longest Quintana Roo Speleological Survey underwater cave system in the world. Including connected dry caves makes Sistema Sac Actun with 347.7 kilometers (216.1 mi) the longest cave in Mexico and the second longest worldwide.
In 2018, a discovery of link between the Sac Actun system (reported to be 263 km long) and the Dos Ojos system in Tulum, Quintana Roo (84 km long) has been reported. The combined system is reported to be the world's largest underwater cave system known.
Upper Paleolithic remains
In March 2008, three members of the Proyecto Espeleológico de Tulum and Global Underwater Explorers dive team, Alex Alvarez, Franco Attolini, and Alberto Nava, explored a section of Sistema Aktun Hu known as the pit Hoyo Negro. At a depth of 57 meters (187 ft) the divers located the remains of a mastodon as well as at 43 meters (141 ft) a human skull that might be the oldest evidence of human habitation in this area to date. Additional bones were located and the skeleton was later identified as that of a teenaged female now referred to as Naia.
- Underwater diving portal
- Eve of Naharon
- List of caves in Mexico
- List of sinkholes of Mexico
- Settlement of the Americas
- "List of Long Underwater Caves in Quintana Roo Mexico". Quintana Roo Speleological Survey. National Speleological Society (NSS). May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- "Dry Caves and Sumps of Quintana Roo Mexico". Quintana Roo Speleological Survey. National Speleological Society. January 1, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
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- Bob Gulden (November 28, 2016). "Worlds longest caves". Geo2 Committee on Long and Deep Caves. NSS. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- "Underwater cave is the world’s biggest", Mexico Daily News, January 15, 2018, https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/underwater-cave-is-worlds-biggest/ (accessed 2018-01-17).
- Fabio Esteban Amador (February 18, 2011). "Skull in Underwater Cave May Be Earliest Trace of First Americans". NatGeo News Watch. National Geographic. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- Hodges, Glen (2014-05-14). "Most Complete Ice Age Skeleton Helps Solve Mystery of First Americans". National Geographic.