Review: The Yucatán Peninsula karst aquifer, Mexico
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The Yucatán Peninsula karst aquifer is one of the most extensive and spectacular karst aquifer systems on the planet. This transboundary aquifer system extends over an area of approximately 165,000 km2 in México, Guatemala and Belize. The Triassic to Holocene Yucatán limestone platform is located in the vicinity of the North American/Caribbean plate boundary and has been reshaped by a series of tectonic events over its long geologic history. At the end of the Cretaceous period, the Yucatán Peninsula was hit by a large asteroid, which formed the Chicxulub impact crater. The Yucatán Peninsula karst aquifer hosts large amounts of groundwater resources which maintain highly diverse groundwater-dependent ecosystems. Large parts of the aquifer are affected by seawater intrusion. Anthropogenic pollution of the aquifer has been increasing over the past few decades, owing to relentless economic development and population growth on the Peninsula. This review summarizes the state of knowledge on the Yucatán Peninsula karst aquifer and outlines the main challenges for hydrologic research and practical groundwater-resources management on the Peninsula.