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Rio La Venta, Chiapas
Rio La Venta, Chiapas

In the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico, a wide flat valley surrounds limestone massifs reaching 3,000 m asl. The valley owes its name to the presence of almost 200 crystal clear spring lakes; the origin of the water, often thermal, is still unknown.

Rio La Venta, Chiapas

The aim of the Cuatrociénegas project is a long-term study of the area karst phenomena, the comprehension of its hydrogeological structure, its protection and conservation.

Rio La Venta, Chiapas

UNESCO
foresees in fact that by 2015 approximately 80% of the world drinkable water will be obtained from karst areas, exactly like that of Cuatrociénegas. Studying and preserving them is therefore becoming absolutely compulsory, and speleological research may give a great contribution.

Rio La Venta, Chiapas

Photo arch. La Venta

      Cuatrociénegas project



The research structure - Geographers of the Darkness

During La Venta's first explorations to central Asia, southern Mexico, Brazil, and Patagonia, the Association set new standards in expedition caving by changing the focus from depth to diversity, and from record-seeking to research.

Continuing in this tradition, La Venta expeditions today are based on an interdisciplinary scientific approach to exploration with the goal of finding geographically, ecologically, and socially important underground environments where they are most important to local cultures and most at risk.

The Association endeavors to expand the commonly-held concept of “caves" by discovering and studying karst phenomena in earth's most remote and extreme environments—such as in lava, quartzite, and glaciers.

Our expeditions are based on the principle that underground exploration is much more than simply geographical mapping or ropework; it's a frontline survey of planet earth's modern day frontiers, the limits of human curiosity, and the potential of "speleological" conservation.

By working with local communities and organizations, and producing books, films, and exhibits, the La Venta Exploring Team intends to serve as a voice for this new era of underground exploration and the long-term study and protection of earth's inner space.


Cuatrociénegas Project

The Cuatrociénegas Project, authorized by the Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas, and supported by the Government of the State of Coahuila, was carried out in complete cooperation with the staff of the Area de Protección de Flora y Fauna “Cuatrociénegas”; we want to thank them all for their help.

The project will end with the publication of a book in several languages; the book will describe the area of Cuatrociénegas and the research carried out in the years, including contributions from former scientists. A similar work was done concerning the area of Chiapas where the Rio La Venta project was carried out, that is “Rio La Venta – Treasure of Chiapas”.

The aim of the Cuatrociénegas project is a long-term study of the area karst phenomena, the comprehension of its hydrogeological structure, its protection and conservation. The exploration of the caves will also lead to an in-depth knowledge of the territory, of its long and deep canyons, of its wide deserted mines, of its inaccessible high mountains.

In the area there is a high chance to discover underground systems featuring extraordinary characteristics as regards morphology, mineralizations, concretions. Some of the caves, where local people have collected guano for decades, keep hosting today numberless colonies of bats. The archaeological aspects are of great interest but almost totally unknown at the present time.


Water in the desert

In the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico, a wide flat valley surrounds limestone massifs reaching 3,000 m asl. The valley owes its name to the presence of almost 200 crystal clear spring lakes; the origin of the water, often thermal, is still unknown.

This is therefore an area of the planet of great hydrogeological importance undergoing a progressive unrestrainable desertification process with salification of the water strata. A sort of ideal karst area, at world level, for the study of zones of great hydropotable value threatened by water exhaustion and different kinds of pollution.

This matter is going to cover a fundamental role in the next decades: Unesco foresees in fact that by 2015 approximately 80% of the world drinkable water will be obtained from karst areas, exactly like that of Cuatrociénegas. Studying and preserving them is therefore becoming absolutely compulsory, and speleological research may give a great contribution.


Difficulties

Continental desert climate, extremely hot in Summer and cold in Winter, tangled thorny vegetation, venomous spiders and snakes, absence of roads and trails; above all, total absence of water with the exception of the plain springs. High distances among exploration zones.





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