Scientist solves 20-year-old cavern diving mystery

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A decades-old poser surrounding a genocide of a Florida cavern diver has been solved by a elementary examination by 3 scientists in a lab during Florida State.

In 1991, an gifted cavern diver named Parker Turner and his diving partner Bill Gavin were mapping caves in Indian Springs, a cavernous uninformed H2O open in a Florida Panhandle.

But disaster struck underwater.

Strong currents kicked adult lees and lees and their prominence was cut from about 80 feet to 6 inches. As they attempted to make their approach to a surface, they found a slight colonnade out of a cavern blocked. Gavin was means to force his approach through, though when he returned for Parker, he could not find him. Parker drowned.

Scientists were during a loss. All they knew from 4 other divers who were already out of a H2O during a time a collision occurred was that a H2O turn had abruptly forsaken and seemed to stir adult a lax lees and silt.

“There was a lot of attrition and feud in a diving and geological village over what accurately happened here,” pronounced Doron Nof, a Distinguished Nansen Professor of Physical Oceanography during Florida State University.

But now, some-more than 20 years later, Nof has an answer.

The answer lay in a diver’s unchanging diving process. At a finish of a dive, divers contingency rivet in a routine called decompression, that eliminates a dissolved dead gases from a diver’s body. In this case, a diver had begun to decompress in an atmosphere pocket, that sent froth to a tip aspect of a cave.

On a face of it, that competence not seem like a large deal. But froth change a levels of irresolution in a cave, that affects a fortitude of a stone and lees that make adult a roof and walls. Because a irresolution changed, lax tools of limestone effectively weighed some-more and came crashing down restraint a pathway for a divers.

“It’s roughly like carrying a mudslide underwater,” Nof said.

Nof, a cavern diver himself, was already operative during Florida State during a time of a 1991 collision and was preoccupied by a mystery, both as a diver and a scientist. He toyed with opposite theories on and off, though this year, finally motionless to dedicate himself to environment adult experiments to find an answer.

He and his group had suspected irresolution levels expected played a purpose in a problem, so he designed an examination to exam how element could tumble from a surface.

With a assistance of FSU’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute, researchers combined a round potion structure that they filled with an orange liquid. At a tip of a structure a group trustworthy a clever magnet and let a steel round hang from that magnet into a fluid.

To start a experiment, they pushed atmosphere by a line into a structure. As froth started relocating to a top, a round began to wobble. After a few seconds, it plunked to a bottom of a glass, illustrating how lees or limestone could have finished a same in a cave.

“Because of a bubbles, a irresolution is reduced,” Nof said. “So, a intent weighs more.”

Source: Florida State University