Cave of the ‘Mayan Underworld’ Filled with Methane-Eating Creatures

Live Science

In the subterranean rivers and flooded caverns of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula—once thought to hold the path to Xibalba, the mythical Mayan underworld—scientists have uncovered a liminal world where methane is the unlikely driving force for life.

After plumbing the depths of Ox Bel Ha, a submerged estuary complex that rivals Texas’ Galveston Bay in size, researchers from the U.S., Mexico, the Netherlands, and Switzerland report in a new study that their expedition was the most detailed ecological study to date of a coastal cave system that is constantly underwater. The feat was so pioneering, in fact, that it necessitated the use of techniques previously employed by deep-sea submergence vehicles, they said.

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