El Nacimiento spring, Sistema Zacaton

The powerful and beautiful El Nacimiento spring is closely connected to the famous El Zacatón sinkhole – one of the deepest water filled sinkholes in world.

It is part of Sistema Zacatón – an area with incredible characteristics unparalleled in the world. In total, this area contains some 20 unusual features – sinkholes, caves, springs created by deep groundwater heated by volcanic processes. Karstification processes here continue today as well – acidic groundwater continues to strip away the limestone and deposits it in unusual travertine formations.

Resurgence of El Zacatón

This spring serves as a resurgence of El Zacatón: it is connected to it through a 230 m long and 17 m deep underwater cave passage.

The characteristic "boil" of powerful spring at the eastern limestone rim was noticed earlier but the connection to El Zacatón was discovered on May 2, 1990, when divers Jim Bowden and Gary Walten entered the Nacimiento. They swam against the current and with the second attempt (they returned for additional exploratory reel) started to see a green glow ahead. Cave entered El Zacatón at 8 meters depth.

Discoverers frequently encountered skeletons of turtles and thus it got its name: Pasage de la Tortuga Muerta – a passage of dead turtle.

Nowadays this passage is the most often used passage to enter El Zacatón.

In rainy periods the stream is fierce and attempts to go through the passage are very dangerous.


  1. Marcus Gary, Sistema Zacatón, research homepage. Accessed on June 27, 2010

El Nacimiento spring on the map

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Location, GPS coordinates: 22.9911 N 98.1663 W
Categories: Springs, Caves
Values: Geology, Biology
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
Where is located? North America, Mexico, Tamaulipas, southern part of the state, 12 km north-west from Aldama town
Discharge of the spring: 194 – 1 312 l/s
Length of the cave: 230 m

Landmarks of Mexico

El Castillo pyramid, Chichen Itza
El Castillo pyramid, Chichen Itza / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Few countries of the world can offer such array of unique and astounding attractions as Mexico.

Area of this country was the cradle of several highly developed indigenous civilizations and some regions in the country are dotted with remnants of ancient cities with temples, palaces, and pyramids.


Fontaine de Vaucluse, very high water level
Fontaine de Vaucluse, very high water level / / CC BY-SA 2.0
This category includes natural sites where water, other liquids and/or gases reach the surface of the Earth, including locations under water.

Powerful natural freshwater springs belong to the most fascinating monuments of nature. Even more exciting is the diversity of unusual springs – mineral springs, hot springs, submarine springs as well as the unusual black smokers. Especially beautiful are such natural rarities as travertine, silica or salt terraces created by warm and hot springs and, especially, geysers.

Recommended books

Hypogene Karst Regions and Caves of the World

This book illustrates the diversity of hypogene speleogenetic processes and void-conduit patterns depending on variations of the geological environments by presenting regional and cave-specific case studies. The cases include both well-known and newly recognized hypogene karst regions and caves of the world. They all focus on geological, hydrogeological, geodynamical and evolutionary contexts of hypogene speleogenesis.

Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science

The Encyclopedia of Caves and Karst Science contains 350 alphabetically arranged entries. The topics include cave and karst geoscience, cave archaeology and human use of caves, art in caves, hydrology and groundwater, cave and karst history, and conservation and management. The Encyclopedia is extensively illustrated with photographs, maps, diagrams, and tables, and has thematic content lists and a comprehensive index to facilitate searching and browsing.


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