The Yucatan peninsula is characterized by being made up of thousands of bodies of water, which we commonly known as cenotes; however, many do not know what an aquifer is, even though it is the reason that we can enjoy these natural wonders.

In order to understand this term, it is first important to identify the science that studies it and to know that hydrology and hydrogeology are totally different things.

Hydrology is the science that studies the distribution, movement and chemical composition of water, mainly in bodies such as rivers, lakes and lagoons.

Montebello Lagoons.

While Hydrogeology studies the relationship between geological materials and water; that is, the storage, distribution and flow of water through the rock; focusing more on groundwater.

This geological space, where groundwater is stored and displaced, is called an aquifer.

Río Secreto Nature Reserve.

Aquifers are large reservoirs of fresh water and occupy the 2nd place for freshwater sources on the planet, with an approximate 0.61%.

They can be classified in different ways, according to their composition:

•         Granular: They are mainly made up of tanks that allow water to be stored through sedimentary material.

•         Cracks: Those in which the water circulates through the fractures, faults, fissures or cavities of the rocks.

•         Karst: Calcium carbonated composition, such as dolomites or gypsum, in which water can circulate through the matrix and the large channels formed by the dissolution of the rock.

Some may even be coastal.

The aquifer of the Yucatan peninsula is of the karst-coastal type and saltwater and sweet water converge in this, thanks to the fact that the continental area is surrounded by sea.

Karst-coastal aquifer where dissolution ducts, freshwater lens thickness and salt water are appreciated, as well as ecosystems associated with groundwater.

Salt water enters through the subsoil and, due to differences in densities (such as water and oil), both layers are separated; the one of fresh water over the salty one.

So now you know, next time don't look like "WHAT?" and show them your knowledge!

And don't forget to spread the word so that, along with Río Secreto and Centinelas del Agua, others also contribute to the conservation of this natural heritage.

Alejandro López Tamayo

Alejandro López Tamayo

Alejandro López Tamayo. Especialista en hidrogeología de sistemas kársticos, Líder del Sistema Arrecifal Mesoamericano en Economía Azul, actor amateur de teatro musical y apasionado por los idiomas.