Sistema Huautla Becomes Deepest Cave in the Western Hemisphere
Cavers on an expedition to Sistema Huautla in southern Mexico have recently announced that they have reached a new depth of 1,545 meters (5,069 feet), once again making Sistema Huautla the deepest cave in the western hemisphere.
Located in Sierra Mazatec mountains in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, Sistema Huautla has been the subject of many expeditions since its discovery in the 1960’s. One of the most complex deep caves, the system has 17 entrances and many different routes.
On this expedition, which began on February 24th, the team of cavers made their way to sump 9, the current terminus of the cave which hasn’t been visited since 1994. Entering through the San Agustin entrance, the shortest route to sump 9, the cavers still had to traverse 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) of cave to a depth of 990 meters (3,248 feet), including some 500 meters (1,640 feet) of underwater passage.
As a result of their efforts, which involved camping underground for several days, cave divers have pushed the terminal sump, Sump 9, to a length of 410 meters (1,345 feet) and depth of 81 meters (265 feet).
Beyond that, cave divers also surveyed 1,774 meters (5,820 feet) of new dry passage for a grand total 2,184 meters (7,165 feet) of new survey, giving the cave a total length of 64.2 kilometers (39.9 miles).