Additional maps and tables from chapter 1: Cave exploration and mapping in the Sierra de El Abra region by William R. Elliott
Knowledge about the Mexican cavefish, Astyanax mexicanus, was advanced by biologists, geologists, and cavers over three periods of work: 1936-1954, 1963-1998, and 2009 to present. Hundreds of caves in the Sierra de El Abra region were discovered on the ground or from the air, and explored by Mexican, American, Canadian, and European teams, many participating in the Association for Mexican Cave Studies (AMCS). Twenty-eight of 29 cavefish sites have been mapped. Caving and cave diving techniques advanced over the years, along with cave mapping and cartography. Now the maps and GIS are helping our understanding of the hydrogeological nature of the caves and where they may drain to, thus informing geneticists and their work. Some of the cavefish populations have not been sampled genetically. In the future, dye-tracing studies could reveal groundwater flow paths to the region’s springs (nacimientos), which may have very long distance connections to the caves.
The Sierra de El Abra Region (north and south): Numbers for fish caves and nacimientos (springs) are in Tables 1 and 2. North is up, white dots are fish caves, triangles are other caves, and squares are nacimientos. By William R. Elliott based on INEGI 1:1,000,000 topographic map (San Luís Potosí sheet) and AMCS data.
Yerbaniz plan 3: Sótano de Yerbaniz plan. The 3 levels of the cave are depicted in different colors. Map © William R. Elliott.
Yerbaniz profiles 3: Sótano de Yerbaniz profiles. ©William R. Elliott.
Cave symbols: Legend of AMCS cave map symbols. © William R. Elliott
Yerbaniz cluster: Map of the Yerbaniz cluster: Sótano de Yerbaniz, Sótano de Japonés, and Sótano de Matapalma, showing hypothesized groundwater flow paths based on cave morphology and elevations. By William R. Elliott based on 1:50,000 INEGI topographic maps and AMCS data. Elliott 1-17 cave symbols.
El Sistema de Los Sabinos. El Sistema de Los Sabinos is the biggest cave system in the El Abra Region, with 3 interconnected fish caves: Sabinos (1.5 km), Arroyo (7.2 km), and Tinaja (4.5 km), totalling 13.2 km of mapped passageways.