United States » Blue Hole

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The history of diving at Santa Rosa Blue Hole is storied and tragic. Every year, over 3,000 students do open water check out dives at the Blue Hole. However, in 1976, two University of Oklahoma State students drowned shortly after straying from their open water class and entering the labyrinth of passages deep inside the Blue Hole cave system.

Although one diver’s body was recovered quickly, the New Mexico State Police were on site for 6 weeks before recovering the second missing diver’s body. At that point, the City of Santa Rosa and the New Mexico State Police sealed the entrance to the cave system with a large steel grate and subsequently the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumped at least 2 dump trucks full of rocks on the top of the grate to ensure that no other divers would venture into the vast corridors below.

New Mexico State Police divers reported that the largest room found was about 17’ tall. However, they stated that the room later collapsed while conducting recovery operations. The maximum depth, reached by the divers in 1976, was reported to be 225’. This number would be closer to 190’ as the divers were not using depth gauges that were adjusted for altitude.

Describing the size of the cave below Santa Rosa Blue Hole, one of the recovery divers Jim Syling, said “I hung off a cliff; I had a 200,000 candle power flashlight and couldn’t see the bottom or the other side. The water was clear but it must be a big cavern, like Carlsbad Caverns”.

Read the entire ADM Exploratoin Foundation Exploration Report
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Latitude: 34.940447
Longitude: -104.673239
Coordinate System:
Maximum Depth: 225'
 Cave Diving
 Cavern Diving
 Open Water Diving
Cave Closed
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