360° panorama by Marcio Cabral.
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Text by the author, Marcio Cabral: This is the world’s first underwater spherical image taken in a cave with fresh water, 25m depth. Lagoa Misteriosa, which translates as “Mysterious Lagoon”, is a lake at the bottom of a sinkhole, a type of geological formation common in limestone regions. This lake of transparent waters impresses visitors for its incredible depth. It is considered one of the deepest submerged caves in Brazil, with more than 220 meters of water column (maximum depth reached by professional cave diver Gilberto Menezes de Oliveira, in 1998), what explains why it is called mysterious. Lagoa Misteriosa is a phreatic cave, that is, it was formed by the flow of underground water that dissolved the limestone in its passage. These types of caves usually are flooded and do not have fragile mineral deposits (speleothems). The first dive at Lagoa Misteriosa was done in September 1992 by Augusto Auler, member of a French-Brazilian Expedition that came to Bonito in 92. In 2008, a team of specialized divers mapped the cave until the depth of 70 meters. The Mysterious Lagoon was the first cave in Brazil to have a “Speleology Management Plan”, a document that comprehends the environmental diagnosis of the area and the guidelines for its conservation, approved by CECAV – the National Center for Research and Conservation of Caves in 2010. For those who have never dived before, Lagoa Misteriosa offers a first diving experience called “baptism”, reaching the maximum depth of 8 meters. For certificate divers, the depth depends on the level of certification, up to the maximum of 60 meters.