The 'It's Tomorrow Already' chronicle: Science…at the bottom of the hole, from China to Mexico

The 'It's Tomorrow Already' chronicle: Science…at the bottom of the hole, from China to Mexico

Recent scientific discoveries in China's Tianqing and Mexican cenotes show that science is progressing… at the bottom of the hole!

At a time when thousands of satellites monitor, monitor and analyze the slightest tectonic movement and map the Earth from every angle, is there still Uncharted lands As it was in the days of the great explorers? There are still isolated peoples living on the margins of the world, in the Amazon, Peru, Colombia, or Venezuela. The vast majority of these Amazonian tribes are also found in Brazil, which has identified signs of 114 of these small groups whose living places are known. But the lands are still unknown? Well there is still some.

In 2008, British scientists from the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew (west of London) discovered a previously unknown forest containing previously unnoticed species in the foothills of Mount Mapo, northern Mozambique. And the most surprising thing is that the origin of this discovery was… Google and its pioneering satellite imagery program, Google Earth.

A virgin underground forest without any trace of human activities

In recent years, new discoveries have been made in China in the heart of Guangxi's karst landscape. In this autonomous region in southern China, on the border with Vietnam, huge cenotes – tianqing – have been discovered that shelter ancient forests, which play an essential role in preserving biodiversity and appear to be teeming with life. Formed by the decomposition of soluble rocks such as limestone, these karst rocks are refuges for genetic diversity, especially for endangered species such as Manglitia SpicyAccording to a new study published last month in the journal Forests.

A photo of the Pingtang Tianqing Group, an area of ​​more than 20 square kilometers with huge craters of various sizes, in Guizhou, China, July 7, 2023.
Global Environment Forum – Dan Sandoval

He explained: “The scene there was amazing: an underground rainforest without any trace of human activity, with century-old trees 40 meters high, and a collection of endangered wild plants dating back to the time of the dinosaurs.”UNESCO In July 2023, Tang Jianmin, an assistant researcher at the Guangxi Institute of Botany, who has been working on this topic since 2016.

With 300 tianqing known worldwide, including 200 in China, scientists are studying the different plants and animals that live there, according to the science website. debriefingThis month is being allocated to investigate the matter.

In addition to the plants that have benefited from Tianqing's preserved ecosystem, scientists expect to find new animal species. “I would not be surprised to learn that there are species present in these caves that have not been reported or described by science yet,” said George Finney, executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in New Mexico. At AccuWeather.

Tianqing in Li County, China – 192 meters deep, 5 million meters deep3 – It thus harbors a wide range of species, such as flying squirrels, civets, reptiles, amphibians, etc.

Tam Ja Blue Hole World Record

Thousands of kilometers away from China, scientists have just discovered another crater in Mexico, this one offshore. The Tam Ga Blue Hole, in Chetumal Bay, southeast of the Yucatán Peninsula, was measured at a depth of 420 metres, breaking the record for a Dragon Hole in the South China Sea, which was 300.89 metres. The team, which specifically used a CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) probe to examine this hole, has published the results of its research in the journal. Frontiers in marine science.

“When delving into the underwater spatial geomorphology of the Tam Ja Blue Hole, the focus is on deciphering its maximum depth and the possibility that it is part of a complex system of caves and undersea tunnels that are possibly interconnected,” the scientists wrote. Who have not yet gone to the bottom of the hole.

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