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A dive in El Zacatón Sinkhole is for experienced divers only as it is the deepest water filled sinkhole in the world.
|Name Dive Site:||El Zacatón|
|Depth: ||0-339m (0-1112ft)|
|Inserted/Added by: ||lars, © Author: Lars Hemel|
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The deepest thermal water filled sinkhole in the world is El Zacatón, a 339 meter deep almost cylindrical shaped cennote, located in El Rancho Azufrosa by Aldama, in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. It is named after its many small 'islands of grass', growing on the sinkhole's surface on top of calcium carbonate deposits (crusts of travertine) that come from the depths below. The free flowing islands of Zacate grass (Mexican Spanish name of the tall grass) move around in the wind and have given the unusual karst features of the Zacatón system its name. Most are between 3 and ten meter wide and will eventually create a lid that covers the complete sinkhole. The total system offers a dozen of unusual, mostly non connected, water masses. There are sinkholes, thermal volcanic springs and caves. All are highly mineralised, slightly acidic, offering a habitat for unique microorganisms not find at many other places in the world.
The incredible depths of this cennote, being one of the few in the world, has attracted professional divers and free divers from all over the globe. Free divers have set record after record here and unfortunately casualties are also reported. NASA has tested robotic hardware (Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer Robot (DEPTHX)) to explore moons in our solar system and several team explorations have eventually led to a detailed map of this fantastic sinkhole. Entering this sinkhole with a diameter of 116meter is very difficult and in 1990 they discovered a different way of scuba diving to El Cacaton, by using the nearby El Nacimiento spring. Now, the most often used entrance is through this Pasage de la Tortuga Muerta, a dive through a 230m long and 17m deep underwater cave passage. There, it is for very experienced divers only, to dive inside this 30 degrees warm sinkhole.
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