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Scuba Diving in Roma, Italy
Dive Site: Pozzo del Merro (Merro Sink Hole)
Location: Near Rome, Italy
Description: Sink hole
Depth: 400 metres + (1200 feet)
Merro sink hole (Pozzo del Merro), situated in the vicinity of Rome, is the deepest flooded karstic cavity known in the world; a proper geologic and naturalistic monument that goes down in the bowls of the earth for at least 400 metres. It opens in a protected area (integral reserve) created on purpose to safeguard it and called 'Macchia del Barco e Macchia di Gattaceca'
The first part of the big scientific project named 'Pozzo del Merro 2007 - MS Project' (organised by the Italian scuba magazine 'Mondo Sommerso' and 'Provincia di Roma' - the authority that manages the reserve) to explore the well, concluded with an incredible free dive descent (never tried before!!!) in its completely dark waters, made by Stefano Makula, the famous champion 28 times holder of the world apnea record.
MS Project was conceived to study the biocoenosis (the community of the livings), its abiotic structures and the relationships of dependence that link one another with the purpose of finally knowing in an exhaustive way the many secrets contained in Merro well. A team of physiologists, pathologists, hyperbaric doctors and psychologists from the University of Florence, AIPS, the University of Rome Centro Iperbarico Romano have studied the athlete's reactions when he was exposed to the free dive stress in such a claustrophobic environment, carrying out a series of experiments and tests.
Scientists and researchers of three Italian Universities, lead by one of the most important Italian zoologists and population genetic experts, Prof. Valerio Sbordoni, have carried out underwater samplings in the sink-hole for about a month thus obtaining valuable answers on the conservation status of Merro ecosystem.
A fundamental support to the Merro exploration is arrived from the participation to the project of one of the greatest and famous cave diver in the history, the American Jim Bowden, who has accepted the invitation of "Mondo Sommerso" to join the explorer-team with big enthusiasm; Bowden dived for two weeks in the well providing his technical skills and, above all, his experience to compare the Merro structure with Zacaton, the famous Mexican cenote where he established the depth world record in 1994.
All the scientific data will be used by Provincia di Roma to improve the management and the preservation of the protected area where Pozzo del Merro is situated.
M. S. Project
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