Now this is one big giant hole in the ground!   Leave a comment


 

The Cave of Swallows, also called Cave of the Swallows (Spanish: Sótano de las Golondrinas), is an open air pit cave in the Municipality of Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The elliptical mouth, on a slope of karst, is 49 by 62 meters wide and is undercut around all its perimeter, further widening to a room approximately 303 by 135 meters wide.  The floor of the cave is a 333-meter freefall drop from the lowest side of the opening, with a 370-meter drop from the highest side,  making it the largest known cave shaft in the world, the second deepest pit in Mexico and perhaps the 11th deepest in the world.  A skyscraper such as New York City’s Chrysler Building could easily fit wholly within it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Opened up by water erosion in a fault on an impermeable limestone plain and with a roughly conical shape, the cave has been known to the local Huastec people since ancient times. The first documented exploration was on 27 December 1966 by T. R. Evans, Charles Borland and Randy Sterns.

Temperatures in the cave are low. Vegetation grows thickly at the mouth, where rains can cause waterfalls cascading into the cave.  The cave floor is covered with a thick layer of debris and guano on which “millipedes, insects, snakes, and scorpions” live.  There is also a narrow sinkhole in a fault of lower Cretaceous limestone which goes down at least a further 512 m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

These people rappell down to the floor of the cave where the scorpions and deadly snakes are waiting.  Why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

And then there are the crazy thrill seekers who want to parachute down into the cave where the scorpions and deadly snakes are waiting.  Why?  Why?

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The cave is a popular vertical caving destination. The high side of the mouth is covered with heavy foliage, so cavers most often fix their ropes on the low side, where bolts have been fixed into the rock and the area is clear of obstructions.  Rappelling to the floor takes about twenty minutes, in which time abseil equipment and rope can heat up to hazardous levels. Climbing back out may take from forty minutes to more than two hours. A person without a parachute would take almost ten seconds to freefall from the mouth to the floor, hence the pit is also popular with extreme sporting enthusiasts for BASE jumping.  An average-sized hot air balloon has been navigated through the 160-foot (49 m) wide opening and landed on the floor below.  Base jumpers can get out in about 10 minutes via an extraction rope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Posted September 15, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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