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What’s inside this continent’s deepest cave?

In the 1960s a group of cave explorers from Austin, Texas got the idea that the state of Oaxaca was the right place to search for that really deep cave they had long dreamed of finding.

pg8aThey had been studying the mountainous areas of Mexico for some time looking for just the right combination of factors: thick limestone, lots of annual rainfall and a lack of surface streams, which would indicate subterranean drainage of the rainfall.

Once they pinpointed the Huautla area, with 100 inches of rainfall annually, they acquired stereo aerial photos and spotted large cave entrances with visible streams flowing into them. They also noted that there was a newly constructed road into the area. The stage was set for a major discovery.

The cavers started in 1965 and were soon exploring three beautiful and challenging caves near Huautla: Sótano de San Agustin, La Grieta and Nita Nanta. In time it became clear that these and other caves they kept finding were interconnected, all part of one big cave system, which became known as Sistema Huautla.

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