Concept

Cenote

Summary
A cenote (pronsᵻˈnoʊti or sɛˈnoʊteɪ; seˈnote) is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. The term originated on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. The term derives from a word used by the lowland Yucatec Maya—tsʼonoʼot—to refer to any location with accessible groundwater. The Yucatán Peninsula alone has an estimated 10,000 cenotes, water-filled sinkholes naturally formed by the collapse of limestone, located across the Yucatán Peninsula, in Mexico. Some of these cenotes are at risk from the construction of the new tourist Maya Train. Cenotes are common geological forms in low-altitude regions, particularly on islands, coastlines, and platforms with young post-Paleozoic limestone with little soil development. The term cenote, originally used only to describe the features in Yucatán, has since been applied to similar karst features in other countries such as Cuba, Australia, and the United States. Cenotes are surface connections to subterranean water bodies. While the best-known cenotes are large open-water pools measuring tens of meters in diameter, such as those at Chichen Itza in Mexico, the greatest number of cenotes are smaller sheltered sites and do not necessarily have any surface exposed water. Some cenotes are only found through small
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