Cave Diving in the Yucatan

A burst of colour lights the shallow waters of...
Image via Wikipedia

Millions of years ago, the Yucatan peninsula was below sea level and formed the bed of a shallow ocean. Fish shellfish and coral thrived in this environment, and when they died their bones and shells fell to the sea floor. The calcium from these formed a calcium carbonate (CaCO3) sludge. As the depth of this layer of sludge thickened, the increasing pressure solidified the calcium carbonate into a porous limestone rock.

During subsequent ice ages the sea level fell and the peninsula was exposed, forming dry land covered in heavy vegetation. Rain falling on the land would percolate through the decaying vegetation and the porous limestone, and then flow horizontally to the sea.

The rainwater dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and produced by decaying vegetation, forming carbonic acid (H2CO3). This carbonic acid solution dissolved the limestone, sometimes creating vertical shafts from the surface, and sometimes creating horizontal passages towards the ocean. Most of the horizontal cave development is believed to have happened close to the water level.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Eco-Tourism, educational, Environmentally Friendly, Scuba Diving

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: