Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Explorers Find World’s Deepest Underwater Cave

Adventure
Explorers Find World’s Deepest Underwater Cave

A team of explorers say they have found the deepest underwater cave on Earth.

Located in the Czech Republic, near the town of Hranice, the cave is believed to be at least 1,325 feet deep, beating the previous record holder—the 1,286-foot Pozzo del Merro in Italy—by 39 feet. But just how deep the Czech cave, named Hranická Propast or Hranice Abyss, goes is still something the team is trying to figure out.

First expedition with ROV GralMarine at Hranicka Propast (Hranice Abyss).Krzysztof Starnawski / Facebook

On Sept. 27, Polish cave diver and team leader, Krzysztof Starnawski, dived to 200 meters (656 feet) down the flooded limestone abyss and then used a remotely operated underwater robot (ROV) to go another 204 meters down, the total length of its cord, according to the Associated Press. However, that wasn't far enough since he said it appeared the robot did not hit the bottom of the abyss.

"It [the robot] was as deep as its rope could go, but the bottom was still nowhere in sight," the Czech Speleological Society said.

Starnawski first explored the cave in 1999 and has returned for more dives over the past two years.

In 2014, he reached the 200-meter mark and thought that was as far as it went, but then noticed an extremely narrow opening called a "squeeze passage" that led to another vertical tunnel that was pitch-black and circled by rough limestone, National Geographic reported.

Diving in the cave has been difficult due to its tight bottlenecks, jammed with tree trunks and rock debris. The water's mineral composition has damaged both the team's equipment and made their exposed skin itch, but Starnawski told AP it is a price worth paying for this discovery.

A newly updated depth chart of the Hranice Abyss based on the most recent record-breaking dive on Sept. 27.Krzysztof Starnawski /Facebook

"This cave is very unique because it's like a volcano, formed from hot mineral water bubbling from the bottom up, rather than rain coming from the top down like most caves," Starnawski told National Geographic last year. "There are probably only three caves like this in the world. There is nothing typical about this cave, and every dive we make new discoveries."

In 2015, Starnawski himself passed through the slot and went to 265 meters (868 feet) down without reaching the bottom. After diving that far down he had to spend more than six hours in a decompression chamber, and that's when he decided he needed a robot instead.

"As the expedition leader for the last several years, I've prepared the equipment and the route in and out for the ROV's dive, so the ROV could go beyond the limits of a human diver, and get through the restricted passage and between the fallen logs and trees," Starnawski told National Geographic.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less