Longest underwater cave system discovered in Florida

Space: the final frontier, right? Probably.

But a couple of cave divers from the nonprofit Woodsville Karst Plain Project (http://www.gue.com/Expeditions/WKPP/index.html) recently showed there's exploration to be done right under our feet. According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, divers recently discovered a 28-mile-long underground link between two cave areas. That turns out to be the longest underwater cave system in North America!

Near Florida's capital, Tallahassee, Leon Sinks -- a forested area of sinkholes and caves -- and Wakulla Springs -- a large spring bowl where several springs bubble up in a state park -- are connected, the divers found. Next, the divers hope to find a connection from Wakulla Springs to the Gulf of Mexico, showing this system is even larger.

The divers' research, exploration and discovery is important for the environment, the article quotes a Florida Geological Survey offical as saying. Because Leon Sinks and Wakulla Springs are connected, it shows the importance of protecting underground water sources from contamination at the surface, the article points out. Many people have thought groundwater could be affected by what happens above ground, yet pollution continued. There had been an ongoing debate over a farm near Wakulla Springs that was irrigated with treated wastewater. Many people were concerned the wastewater would contaminate the springs. In other parts of Florida, sewage is treated and pumped directly into the ground as a means of disposal, despite many residents' objections over concerns for water quality.

Now we have a proof of a connection between an above-ground area to an underwater cave leading to a spring.

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