Cozumel cenote

This story was posted as an April Fool joke and is entirely fictitious.

Geologists in Mexico are proposing an innovative solution for Cozumel and other Caribbean islands faced with rising sea levels due to global warming.

The idea is to partially "float" the islands by sealing and filling underground caverns with compressed air.

Dr. Abril Primero at the University of Merida, told This is Cozumel, yesterday, "This part of Mexico is full of underground holes, such as cenotes and caves. We plan to use these natural features as giant airbags, raising the ground level just a couple of inches, enough to reduce the danger of flooding from rising sea levels."

The university's research team believes similar techniques could be used in islands in other parts of the world, although artificial caverns may need to be created in some cases.

The next step will be to run tests this June on a small island at Banco Chinchorro, about 100 miles (161km) south of Cozumel. If successful the technique could be scaled up for larger islands like Cozumel.

Chinchorro

Underground caverns and caves will be sealed using a special impermeable concrete that sets underwater, similar to that used on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Compressors will then pump air into the space at several times normal atmospheric pressure, giving sufficient buoyancy to raise the rock bed enough to stop the island from flooding.

Dr. Primero said, "One of the challenges is to find a sustainable way to provide the energy to keep compressors running, but we believe a combination of wind and solar power will work on many islands."

If tests prove positive, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres in the Mexican Caribbean could be the first to benefit, although Dr. Primero admits no government funding has yet been secured.