Showing posts with label Mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mexico. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Lechuguilla Cave – Jewel of Branched Underground Cave

Lechuguilla Cave is 8th longest explored cave in the world. The 222.6 km, is the second deepest cave 1,604 ft in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Lechuguilla Cave is famous for its strange geology, rare formation, and pristine condition. The cave is named for the canyon Agave lechuguilla, a rare species found here. Before 1986, this cave was known as a small insignificant historic site.
Access to Lechuguilla Cave is not for everyone. Only researchers, scientific, exploration team and National Park service management allow entering it. Bat guano was mined under a mining claim field. This historical cave has big 90-foot entrance named Misery Hole, mainly led to 400 feet of dry, dead-end passages. The cave was visited intermittently after mining activities stopped. In the 1950s, cavers heard the mysterious wind roaring up from the rubble-choked cave floor. However, no route was obvious; people concluded that cave passages lay below the rubble.
A large walking passage occurred in 1986, after the digging of a group of cavers. The explorers mapped a 222 km of passages, making it 4th longest in the United States. The cave's pristine condition and rare beauty covers come from around the world to explore and map its passages and geology. An explorer team climbed over 410 feet into a dome and unearthed many new unexplored passages, pits, and large rooms.
Lechuguilla Cave holds a variety of rare speleothems, lemon yellow sulfur deposits, gypsum chandeliers, gypsum hairs and beards, soda straws, cave pearls, hydromagnesite ballons, rusticles, helictites, U-loops and J-Loops. The cave surpasses nearby Carlsbad Caverns in size, depth, and variety of speleothems, though no room has been discovered yet in Lechuguilla Cave that is larger than Carlsbad's Big Room. The abundance of gypsum and sulfur lends sustenance to speleogenesis by sulfuric acid dissolution. The sulfuric acid is thought to be derived from hydrogen sulfide that migrated from nearby oil deposits. As a result, this cavern formed from the bottom up, in contrast to the normal top-down carbonic acid dissolution mechanism of cave formation.
A beautiful wilderness area lies beneath a park adjacent Bureau of Land Management Land. The oil drilling and proposed gas is a major threat to this cave. In case of any leaked in gas could kill cave life or disastrous explosions. Further, a rare type of chemolithoautotrophic bacteria is believed to take place in the cave. These bacteria normally feed on the sulfur, iron, and manganese minerals. Few microbes may have medicinal qualities that are beneficial to humans. Moreover, a four-million-year-old strain of Paenibacillus isolated from soil samples was found to be naturally resistant to numerous modern antibiotics, including daptomycin.

A BBC documentary featuring Lechuguilla Cave in his Planet Earth series, exploring Chandeliers Ballroom, high-quality crystals. In 1992 A National Geographic Society program Mysteries Underground was also filmed extensively in Lechuguilla Cave. So this jewel of underground Cave is the ultimate destination for any caver. Source - CP





Friday, 28 September 2018

Island of Dolls, Mexico


Every year hundreds of photographers and thrill seekers travel to haunt Isla De Las Mulecas (island of the Dolls). That doesn’t mean it’s a tourist destination. After a two-hour canal ride from Mexico City, a nightmarish clearing deep in the woods where thousands of mutilated dolls hang from the trees and hide among the dense branches. A reclusive Mexican man who believed dedicated to the soul of young girl, appease the troubled ghost who passed away at a tender age there over 50 years ago, still haunts the woods today. It is also known locally as the 'chinampas' where, grew vegetables and flowers to sell in the nearest town but never spoke to anyone while he was there.

The island of dolls is a creepiest destination in Xochimilco, Mexico. It was a floating garden, now home to hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes hung on trees, fences and nearly every available surface. The dolls appear menacing even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark they are particularly haunting. The tragic story behind this haunted island lies occurred in 1950. Don Julian Santana Barrera was the only dweller and caretaker of the island. He found a little girl drowned, in a canal surrounding the island strangely. He wasn’t able to save her life. Hence, shortly thereafter, Julian saw a floating doll near the canal, assuming it to be the girl’s doll.

He later discovered a doll floating in the same waters and, assuming it belonged to the deceased girl, hung it from a tree as a sign of respect. His descent into madness began with this seemingly innocent act. He was feeling so guilty of not saving the girl’s life. She has made Julian restless. He felt that the island was haunted by the girl’s spirit. Only one doll, he felt was not enough to please the child, he felt the girl needed company. Barrera began to hear whispers, footsteps and the anguished wails of a woman in the darkness even though his hut - hidden deep inside the woods of Xochimilco - was miles away from civilization. Terrified by the spirit, he started collecting dolls. He would find in the canal, from heaps of trash and hundreds of toys. Then some missing body parts from the trees and the wire fencing which surrounded his wooden shack.

Over half a century, he collected more than 1,500 of these little horrors. All the dolls are still there untouched. They look like decaying corpses of children. Later Santana died of a heart attack in 2001, and a small white cross near the water marks his grave. Some stories say that he was found drowned in the canal in the same manner as the dead girl. Julian Santana Barrera retreated to the woods soon after she drowned in the nearby canal. Driven by fear, he hung the dismembered toys from the trees to protect himself from her ghost and spent the next 50 years 'decorating' the woods in a desperate attempt to appease her.

He was also claimed that he could hear her tormented screams and footsteps in the darkness. However, the truth behind the story is still a mystery. Some even doubt the existence of the drowned girl. Some say Julian had made up this story in his loneliness. Some say that Julian had gone mad and felt that the dolls were the tortured spirits of children who passed early. People close to Julian say that it felt as if he was driven by a certain force, which had changed him completely. Even today after the 14 years of his own mysterious death in those woods. The visitors say they hear whispers in the night and feel the dolls' eyes following them through the trees.

The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, which expanded tourism to the area. But there excitement turns to horror when they stumble upon the Island of the Dolls. The truth, as told by his family members who now run the island as a tourist attraction. Barrera simply believed the island was haunted by the spirit of the dead girl he found in the canal. After his death, the area became a popular tourist attraction where visitors bring more dolls. The locals describe it as 'charmed' not haunted and even though travelers claim the dolls whisper to them. For decades, many dolls were exposed to the elements and are certainly weathered and decayed with only doll-heads hanging from rusty wires in the tree. Visitors leave coins and trinkets at several of the doll shrines found inside some of the Island’s loosely-constructed buildings. Source: CP













 

 

Mount Mayon, Mexico

Mount Mayon, also known as the Mayon Volcano, is an active stratovolcano with a small central summit crater on the island of Luzon in the island of Luzon in Philippines. The Philippines, which has a population of 103,775,002, became an independent state in 1946, after gaining its sovereignty from Spain. The Mount Mayon is renowned for its almost symmetric conical shape. Mayon is considered to have the world's most perfectly formed cone due to its symmetry. It was formed through layers of pyroclastic and lava flows from past eruptions and erosion. Mayon is a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Mayon, in north-eastern Albay province, is the most active volcano in the Philippines having erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years. The distinctiveness of Mayon volcano is geographically shared by the eight cities and municipalities which meet at the cone’s summit, dividing the cone like slices of a pie when viewed from above. There are many festivals and rituals are associated with the volcano and its landscape. The most destructive eruption of Mayon occurred on in Feb 1, 1814.  Lava was flowed belched dark ash 30ft in depth and eventually bombarded the town of Cagsawa 1200 locals perished with tephra that buried it.
Trees burned, and rivers damaged and proximate areas were devastated by the eruption. Moreover, another massive eruption recorded in 1881. Everyone had to leave their homes, rice, vegetables and poultry farms within the danger zone. When Mayon underwent a strong volcano had poured out, for five months continuously, a stream of lava on the Legaspi side from the very summit. The viscid mass bubbled quietly but grandly, and overran the border of the crater, descending several hundred feet in a glowing wave, like red-hot iron. An eruption in 1993 caused 79 deaths. And subsequent eruptions in 2000, 2006, 2009, 2014, and 2018 forced tens of thousands of people in nearby villages to evacuate.
The Mayon Volcano is located on the convergent boundary where the Philippine Sea Plate is driven under the Philippine Mobile Belt. The lighter continental plate floats over top of the oceanic plate. It is forcing it down into the Earth's mantle, and allowing magma to well up from the Earth’s interior. The magma exits through weaknesses in the continental crust, one of which is Mount Mayon. The locals refers the volcano being named after the great princess-heroine Daragang Magayon
The active volcano has managed to retain its perfect cone shape without suffering any major slides or collapse. The volcano is the centerpiece of the Albay Biosphere Reserve, declared by UNESCO in 2016. The main landmark is rising 2462 meters above the Albay Gulf.  It has very steep upper slopes averaging 35 to 40 degrees capped by a small summit crater. Due to its perfect symmetric cone, the mountain was declared a national park and a protected landscape on July 20, 1938.
It was also reclassified a Natural Park and renamed as the Mayon Volcano Natural Park in 2000. Mount Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines. Hence its activity is regularly monitored by PHIVOLCS from their provincial headquarters on Ligñon Hill, about 12KM SSE from the summit. Three telemetric units are installed on Mayon's slopes, which relay information to the seven seismometers in different locations around the volcano and back to the Ligñon Hill observatory and the PHIVOLCS central headquarters. Despite of all facts, Mount Mayon is a popular destination for climbers and tourists.
Source: CP












 

Friday, 11 May 2018

Santa Rosa Blue Hole, New Mexico


On the east of Santa Rosa, there’s bell-shaped pool called Blue Hole located off Route 66 in New Mexico. Like several other natural pools of its similar types, the Santa Rosa Blue Hole is a small body of water that seems to fill a surprisingly deep hole in the ground with shockingly clear waters. The circular blue hole is one of most popular dive destination in the US for SCUBA diving and training session. The arid climes is a natural swimming hole that has a hidden system of underwater caves which were unexplored until 2013. The famous Blue Hole is an artesian well that was once used as a fish hatchery. The blue hole has clear water with a persistent 62 °F temperature and persistent inflow of 3,000 US gallons per minute.

Though the surface is only 80 feet in diameter, it expands to a diameter of 130 feet at the bottom. The site elevation is 4,616 ft, it is necessary for divers to use high-altitude dive tables to compute the dive profile and decompression stops when diving in the Blue Hole. The Santa Rosa deep hole was an ideal spot for scuba divers until two young divers became trapped in the pool’s tight underwater caves. After their deaths in 1976, the entrance to the caves was covered with a metal grate and all but forgotten.

In 2013, a group of adventurous divers were allowed to past the grate with the intention of mapping the system of unexplored caves. Therefore, their early probing was stymied by decades of debris and too tight passages but the excavation continues with a watchful eye towards safety lest further deaths close off the secretive caverns for decades to come. It’s still unclear how far back the caves go. The pool is open for public use with no lifeguards on duty, however another sad incident took place on March 26, 2016 when 43 year old California diver was exploring passageways where he became trapped and drowned.

In fact Santa Rosa Blue hole is a wonderful stop, where divers can jump off the rock or enter via the stairs across from the jumping rock. Santa Rosa is known as the "City of Natural Lakes," is overflowing with pristine bodies of water that provide an invigorating blue splash in an otherwise arid landscape. The Blue Hole, fed from an underwater aquifer, about 8,000 diving permits are issued per year from around the world. A super place particularly in a hot day, as water is cold and refreshing and if you get there earlier in the day before it gets churned up it is crystal clear. It is like a slice of the Caribbean in the middle of New Mexico.













Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Cave of Crystals - Chihuahua, Mexico


Planet earth indeed most extraordinary place as “Secret Marvels of the World” is a compendium of the world’s weirdest and most wonderful sights that really do have to be seen to be believed. You'd be forgiven for wondering if movie fiction had become fact while gazing upon the Cave of the Crystals in Mexico.  The Giant Crystal Cave is an amazing cave connected to the Naica Mine at a depth of 300 metres, in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. This remote part of northern Mexico, located is an hour to the south of Chihuahua, is famous for crystals, and paychecks at the local lead and silver mine, where almost everyone works, are meager enough to inspire a black market.
The cave was discovered by the brothers Eloy and Javier Delgado. These days’ scientists are working in the cave to conduct research on the crystals. Although the conditions are extremely difficult, but their efforts seem to be paying off. Investigators have discovered a new type of gypsum formation, collected ancient pollen in the crystals, and extracted the DNA of extremophiles trapped in the crystals to match them to their closest living relative.

Unfortunately, the crystal caves at the Naica mines are open to scientific investigation only. Even in this case, each visitor needs the proper equipment, as the temperature and humidity can easily overheat the human body. The cave contains staggeringly huge crystals as some of four metres thick. Researchers believe some of the crystals are 500,000 years old. The cave of crystal is extremely hot, with air temperatures reaching up to 58 °C with 90 to 99 % humidity. The main chamber contains some of largest natural selenite crystals. The largest crystal found in this case is 12 m in length, 4 m in diameter and 55 tons in weight.
The cave is relatively unexplored due to many reasons without proper protection; people can only endure about 10 minutes of exposure at a time. The underground magma lies about 2 to 3 miles below the cave, heated the ground water which was saturated with sulfide ions. Thus, cool oxygenated surface water contacted the mineral saturated heated water, but the two did not mix due to the difference in their densities. Therefore, the oxygen gradually diffused into the heated water and oxidized the sulfides into sulfates. Moreover, the hydrated sulfate gypsum crystallized at a particularly slow rate over the course of at least 500,000 years, forming the giant crystals found nowadays.

In 1910 miners unearthed a cavern beneath the Naica mine workings, the Cave of Swords, located at a depth of 120 metres, above the Cave of Crystals, and contain spectacular, smaller 1 to 3 ft. long crystals. It is speculated that at this level, transition temperatures may have fallen much more rapidly, leading to an end in the growth of the crystals. Giant Crystal Cave was discovered in April 2000 by miners excavating complex in Naica contains substantial deposits of silver, zinc and lead. The Cave of Crystals is a horseshoe-shaped cavity in limestone, covered with perfectly faceted crystalline blocks. Huge crystal beams jut out from both the blocks and the floor.
The caves are accessible nowadays because the mining company's pumping operations keep them clear of water. If the pumping were stopped, the caves would again be submerged in water. The crystals deteriorate in air, so the Naica Project is attempting to visually document the crystals before they deteriorate further. The cave was featured includes credence to the existence of further chambers, but further exploration would have required significant removal of the crystals. As the cave's accessibility is dependent on the mine's water pumps, when mineral exploitation is ended in the area it is expected the pumps will be shut off and the cavern's water level allowed to rise again.











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