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Cave Diving in Central and Northern Florida, U.S.
The North Floridan Aquifer's labyrinthine cave system has many entrances that are provided by the expulsion of groundwater through numerous first-magnitude springs. Due to these high-flow springs, special techniques to explore these caves had to be developed by Florida cave divers, since some of these springs have such currents that it is impossible to swim against them. The longest known underwater cave system in the USA, The Leon Sinks cave system, near Tallahassee, Florida, has multiple interconnected sinks and springs spanning two counties (Leon & Wakulla). One main resurgence of the system, Wakulla Springs, is explored exclusively by a very successful and pioneering project called the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP). Likewise, other individuals and groups like the US Deep Cave Diving Team, have explored portions of Wakulla Springs in the past. One deep underwater cave in the USA is Weeki Wachee Spring, Due to its strong outflow, it was not until 2007, when due to drought conditions, that the out-flowing water eased up enough to allow team divers from Karst Underwater Research to panetrate to depths of 400 ft (120 m). Phantom Springs Cave, located in west Texas, is the current deepest known underwater cave in the USA. It has been explored down to 462 feet in water filled cave passages. This makes it the deepest underwater cave in the USA as of 2013. http://www.admfoundation.org/projects/phantomcave2013/phantom2013.html Florida caves are formed from geologically young limestone with moderate porosity. The absence of speleothem decorations, which can only form in air filled caves, indicates that the flooded Florida caves have a single genetic phase origin, having remained water filled even during past low sea levels. The caves are relatively linear with a limited number of side passages allowing for most of the guidelines to be simple paths with few permanent trees. So as to keep a continuous guideline to the surface, Florida cave divers, when exploring side passages, tend to use a jump reel to joint a main line with a secondary line. Popular Florida Cave Diving Sites * Telford Spring * Pecock Springs State Park * Cow Spring * Little River * Devil’s Eye * Manatee Spring * Jackson Blue
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