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Geographical  Yucatan Peninsula curiosities that you may find 

The Yucatan Peninsula has many mysteries, each corner contains a special story. Among this territory, you’ll find a past that has marked the face of the Earth since before humanity existed. One of the main geological attractions is its underground rivers and cenotes. Let’s see more in the following paragraphs. 

How did it come to be? 

More than 65 million years ago, the Yucatan Peninsula was under the sea. A 6 miles wide meteorite hit what is currently the Gulf of Mexico. According to different sources, the tsunami waves suffered from the same shock were up to almost 500 feet high. To give us an idea, the average height of the skyscrapers in Mexico City, but we cannot forget the strength of the wave itself. 

The sediments that remained from the explosion accumulated, forming the layers on the ground that currently composes the Yucatán Peninsula, which we know as limestone. It is not very fertile for cultivation, however, there are large amounts of minerals that help the growth of the jungle. It should be remembered that, due to climatic changes over millions of years, the Yucatán Peninsula has emerged and has submerged several times. With time, this caused many underground caves  became flooded and then dried out. 

What is a cenote? 

This word comes from the Mayan ts’ono’ot or d’zonot which means “water tank”. From underground connections and a vast amount of water that runs through all these areas, holes were formed in the earth that left some parts of these wonders of nature uncovered. Many of these cenotes have entrances for you to enjoy their freshwaters. 

Know more about Mayan Culture here.

Thanks to this, there were many settlements throughout history that created a home out of this territory: then ancient Maya civilization. I addition to being an important source of life, they performed rituals in honor of their gods. Currently, there are cenotes where you can witness the recreations of Maya ceremonies.

How were the cenotes formed? 

In caving there is a phenomenon called “karst process”. Which consists of chemical weathering of limestone rocks in contact with slightly acidic water. In addition, there are elements in nature such as the type of stone. The sediments of the jungle and the amount of water that affects the soil. 

The next step is the collapse of some parts of the underground caves. Most of which occurred during the Ice Age, when sea levels dropped and the Yucatan Peninsula caves dried up. The rivers were flooded again with climate change, giving way to the cenotes. 

The third and last step is the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. The filtration of the rains to the subsoil caused that through thousands of years these structures were growing from the calcium sediment. It should be noted that this phenomenon occurs in caves with little flooding. Otherwise, this phenomenon does not exist in those that are already completely flooded. 

Now that we know a little about the geology of our land, we are able to see the importance of taking care of our aquifers. When they become contaminated because they are connected to the sea, they reach the corals and the entire affected ecosystem can be seen. Remember not to litter or use sunscreen when you enter these natural wonders. 

Read more about Xplor Caves here.