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Located on the Canary Island of Lanzarote, the Tunnel of Atlantis It is one of the places of greatest geological interest in the Geopark of Lanzarote and Chinijo Archipelago, the set of Spanish islands located off the north coast of Lanzarote, both for its geological significance and for the unique diversity that lives within it.
Due to the technical complexity of the dives, only two teams have managed to reach the end of the tunnel throughout history, specifically a Franco-Belgian group that reached the level in 1986 and a team of divers from Madrid, who did so in 1987.
Now, 32 years later, the team led by the professor of Geodynamics of the UNED Javier Lario Gomez, has managed to repeat the feat and, in addition, "collect geological samples from the end of the tunnel and document others in the tunnel galleries to begin to elaborate what will be the first geological study of the area”, As Lario explains.
The expedition has been possible thanks to funding from the Explora Program of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.
Lario's team, made up of the cave divers Franjo Sánchez, José Luis Rubio, Cecilio López Tercero and Víctor Tovar, carried out the first sampling campaign from February 19 to 24. During this time, they reviewed the cavity guide and reached the end of it.
The samples collected in this campaign will be analyzed by the different specialists who participate together with the UNED in this project, such as the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, the Museum of Natural Sciences of Tenerife, the University of Alicante, the University of Alcalá de Henares and the University of Castilla-La Mancha.
"Two to three new campaigns are planned to continue documenting the geological record and collecting samples," adds the professor.
These studies will contribute to broadening the knowledge of what is considered one of the Anchial ecosystems (the jameos are a significant example of them) most diverse in the world -with 36 endemic species- since, "although there are very complete biological studies that confirm its rich diversity, there are no geological studies carried out with samples from the interior of the tunnel that allow us to know its geological evolution", explains the expert.
The Tunnel of Atlantis was formed approximately 20,000 years ago and it was submerging with the rise in sea level, "and that is precisely the geological process that we are going to study within the project," concludes the professor.
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