An extraordinary cave network has never been seen through human eyes in the depths of an American national park.
The creepy blue polar network has been described by park workers in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park as a “miraculous sight.”
It followed an expedition to so-called “virgin” cave passages in the park, long known for its complex cave structures filled with waxy stalactite rock formations.
Now explorers have discovered something uniquely remarkable: an isolated pool of milky blue water, untouched by humans, 700 feet underground.
Carlsbad Caverns announced the discovery on Facebook this week, calling the site in the Lechuguilla Cave “completely pristine.”
Geoscientist Max Wisshak, who led the expedition, wrote, “The edges under this pool appear to be” pool fingers, “which may be colonies of bacteria that have evolved completely without human presence.”
Wisshak led the expedition in October 2019, along with a team of specialist explorers who were given special permission to go beyond a body of water known as the “Lake of Liquid Sky” discovered in 1993.
He said, “The goals of this expedition are long in the making. Rest assured … The team has taken special precautions to ensure that no contaminants get into these pools of water.”
He posted a photo showing the strange alien-looking sight, consisting of white frosted rock filled with a strange glowing milky-blue substance that would have remained untouched for millennia.
Rodney Horrocks, head of natural and cultural resources at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, told local media, “This pool has been isolated for hundreds of thousands of years and had never seen light before.”
Wisshak added, “Such untouched pools are scientifically important because water samples are relatively free of contaminants, and the microbial organisms that can live in those pools are only those there.”
“Pollution can take place from the surface above the cave, but in the case of the Lechuguilla Cave this is not a major problem, as it is located in a well-protected natural area. It can also be done through aerosols in the air. A newly discovered swimming pool in Lechuguilla Cave is about as pristine as it gets. “
The pool is estimated to be about a foot wide, 2 feet long and a few inches deep, and although it looks cloudy, the water is crystal clear and probably formed from old filtered rainwater.
This amazing cave exploration included “countless rope drops” and mapped 1.3 miles of previously unseen passages.
In addition to microbes and a few old bat skeletons, signs of life were ‘visible to the naked eye’.
We hope that further studies can now take place to unravel the mysteries of the site.
Both the pool and cave passage contain barite, Wisshak says, which is rarely found in caves.