Deep below the surface, inside the water filled caverns of Cenote Zapote in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, stalactites grow into strange shapes. Instead of their typical pointed tips, the stalactites hanging down from the roofs at Cenote Zapote have a blown out mouth like that of a bell. They have been called variously as hell’s bells, elephant feet, shower heads or trumpets.

Photo Credit: inspiredtodive.com

Photo Credit: inspiredtodive.com

The phenomenon of hell’s bell is not understood. How were they formed, or why there are no other dive sites where these structures can be found? Hell’s bell is believed to be a kind of folia formation, that are usually found just below the water line. The bells could have developed out of folia as the water table changed since the last ice age. But the mechanism of folia formation itself is not fully understood and is the subject of an ongoing debate.

Photo Credit: inspiredtodive.com

Photo Credit: inspiredtodive.com

Photo Credit: inspiredtodive.com

Photo Credit: inspiredtodive.com

Cenote Zapote is located west of Puerto Morelos in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The sinkhole took its name from the Sapote trees growing around.

The hell’s bell formations are located at a depth of about 30 meters.

 

This feature originally appeared in Amusing Planet.

 

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