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In this gallery we take a diversion from our otherwise eastwards path. Here we venture south to central America and the Yucatan Province of Mexico. Here we find human historical artifacts a plenty, and yet also, a geological underpinning with global implications for life as we know it. For it was here some 65 million years ago that a meteorite, estimated to have been between 10 and 15 kilometers across, came crashing through the atmosphere slamming into the earth's surface with enormous force and forever changing the nature of life on our planet. Even after 65 million years, and the deposition of several thousands of feet of entombing sedimentary rock above it, the crater still affects life in the Yucatan. It's topographic relief, even in the subsurface, continues to influence the development of fracture systems in the overlying limestone rock. As a result, extensive subterranean cave systems have developed, many of which are at least partly filled with crystal clear fresh water and open up to the surface in large potholes called "cenotes". These cenotes form a beautiful half circle clearly visible on surface maps. The circle sits directly over the portion of the crater rim that lies beneath the present day landmass of the Yucatan. Not surprisingly, cenotes have been a major factor in the human development of the Yucatan. More than excellent fresh water supplies, they were sacred to the early Maya, who believed many of their Gods lived beneath the earth and could be accessed via the Cenotes. Quite a charming notion, except for those unfortunate souls who found themselves made human sacrifices to the Gods which, of course, meant being hurled into the potholes never to be heard of or seen again!

Please click on any of the following thumbnail views to view a larger image and scroll down for the related explanatory notes.

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