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Deep phreatic shafts and travertine-capped sinkholes characterize Sistema Zacatón, an isolated karst area in northeastern Mexico. At a depth of at least 329 m, El Zacatón is the deepest known underwater pit in the world. Hypogenic karst development related to volcanism is proposed to have formed El Zacatón and is thought to have diminished since the late Quaternary peak activity. The resulting geomorphic overprint of Zacatón displays features similar to hydrothermal groundwater systems throughout the world. Other karst areas in northeastern Mexico are known for deep pits and high-flow springs rising from great depths, but differ from Zacatón in the...

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