In the far reaches of Chile’s Patagonia, scientists have discovered a network of hidden underground caves that could provide clues to how South America was formed and how some of its earliest human inhabitants lived.
A system of around 20 limestone caves was found earlier this week while a group of Chilean and French researchers were on a research trip to Diego de Almagro island off the far southwest coast of Chile. Diego de Almagro Island, formerly known as Cambridge Island, is in the far southern Magallanes Region of Chile.
To get into the caves, some of which are 65 feet deep, scientists had to abseil and at time scuba dive to the subterranean caverns. Inside, researchers found wall paintings and bone fragments left by the indigenous Kawesqar people that could help date the caves.
Besides cave drawings, researchers said that they found types of rock in the caves normally found in more temperate zones, which could provide clues to how the continents split apart.
"You can make models of areas where the continents broke off and this could be one of those spots," said speleologist Natalia Morata, according to Reuters.
The discovery of the caves is part of a series of expeditions conducted by the French Centre Terre association.