A new discovery in Montreal, Quebec is taking us deep underground...as well as deep into history.
Luc Le Blanc and Daniel Caron have been spelunkers (or cave explorers) for most of their lives. But they've never found something quite like this. A massive cave, complete with an underground lake, deep underneath a major city. This Montreal cave is estimated to be about 15,000 years old. It was formed by passing glaciers during the last Ice Age.
You could even think of this cave as a 375th birthday present to the historic city. Cool!
Long and lean
The cave is long, deep, and narrow, making it something like an underground cathedral. The researchers say it is about six metres high (20 feet) and three metres wide (10 feet), and it extends at least 200 metres (655 feet). But they still aren't sure exactly how far it goes. Why? Because right now, the far wall goes underwater!
Let's explain. Much of the cave is flooded by water from the Montreal aquifer. (An aquifer is also known as groundwater — a supply of water found underground that is often tapped by a well for drinking water.) Le Blanc and Caron needed to use an inflatable canoe to travel down the flooded part of the cave. So the question is, does the cave actually end where the ceiling begins to go underwater? Or does it open up again on the other side into perhaps an even more magnificent cave?
Sounds like their research has only just begun!
Watch Le Blanc talk to CBC news about the discovery below.
Attached to an existing cave
As they mention in the video, this new discovery is actually attached to another Montreal cave: the Saint Leonard Cavern.
The Saint Leonard Cavern has been open to the public for about 200 years. It contains many fossils of prehistoric marine life that dates back around 450 million years! The cave itself was formed by passing glaciers around the same time as this new cavern. Le Blanc and Caron felt sure that Saint Leonard had more secrets to reveal to humanity, and now their persistence has paid off!
City officials hope to open the cave to the public one day. We can't wait to pay it a visit for ourselves.
Watch more of Caron talking about their find to the Canadian Press below. Let's go exploring!