“From a speleological (caves and caverns) point of view, the Maya Train is an inadmissible project for the area due to the karst soil characteristics of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is not compatible with a work of this magnitude”, declared Jerónimo Avilés, who is part of the expert scientific team that has made the discovery of 10 “Ice Age humans” in underwater caves.
“It is unfeasible to build a railroad in this area and in general throughout the peninsula … in the state we have the largest flooded cave system in the world, and at some point in time, these systems will connect with each other, making the largest underwater/dry cave in the world, ” the expert explained.
A few days ago, the director of the National Fund for Tourism Promotion (Fonatur) announced that due to the existence of archaeological sites and as a consequence of the fragile subsoil, the Maya Train route would remain as it was proposed in the first place.
The route that was discarded contemplated going from Valladolid to Cobá and from there to Tulum, with a branch to Cancun; The original line contemplates the direct connection between Valladolid and Cancun.
The former collaborator of the Underwater Archeology Department of the INAH from 2004 to 2011 in 27 research projects and 300 underwater sites registered in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, pointed out that the soil of this region is extremely fragile .
“There lots of cases of sinkholes across the Peninsula, some old and others more recent, there are some not more than five years old. I understand the social part of the project, the government pretendes to trigger development in marginalized parts, but it is unfeasible in this area, ”he said.
As an example of the fragility of the soil, he cited that when they are diving in the flooded caves and a big truck or eighteen wheeler passes, the divers can feel the vibration, several meters underwater.
“One of the natural mechanisms of creation of the caves is collapsing, and these happen naturally, but if we put a source of vibration (like the force/vibration of a train), could cause bigger landslides,” he predicted.
Despite the extensive knowledge that, together with their work team, they have about the underground veins that run throughout the Quintana Roo territory, their opinion has never been asked, in relation with the Maya Train route design.
“The government should work together with the speleological groups that operate in the peninsula. We are the ones who know best about the speleology of the Yucatan Peninsula and this science is one of the branches of geology.
Geologists should conform a scientific research team, that could advise the Fonatur in this matter, ” Jerónimo Avilés concluded.
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