On the left, a scuba diver with a green helmet emerges from water; on the right, an underwater view of a diver's silhouette against the light from the surface.

Unraveling Cozumel’s Hidden Underwater Springs

Scientists have begun investigating the formation of underwater springs, or 'spring eyes', around Swallow Island. This intriguing phenomenon was recently captured in photographs. German Yáñez Mendoza, the Deputy Director of Ecology, and a geology researcher from the Institute of Geology of the UNAM, embarked on a dive to study these springs, found near the flagpole plaza and the Aldora dock.

Yáñez Mendoza explained that these phenomena, also known as upwellings, are essentially underwater caves that connect to the sea. Many of the caverns in the area have an internal drainage system that channels rainwater into the sea. However, some of these openings can become blocked by sediments, rocks, and sand.

The spring eye near the flagpole plaza was formed as a result of these blockages. Meanwhile, the spring near the Aldora dock was created by a hole that connects to a cave, allowing water to escape during heavy rainfall. Another team member, Rafael Lopez, noted that the water from both the spring and the hole is fresh. The spring eye is extremely narrow and has a strong current, making it dangerous to explore. These formations are common in the Caribbean due to the region's geological features, with the island's central caves draining towards the sea. They often go unnoticed, hidden deep underwater or amongst coral reefs.

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This natural phenomenon is fascinating as it provides insight into the island's natural drainage systems, where caves capture water in one location and transport it to the sea. The investigation into these underwater springs continues, with the aim of understanding their processes and potential impact on Cozumel's marine ecosystem.