15,000-year-old caves discovered under Saint-Leonard park

Click to play video: 'Take a tour through a cave in Saint-Leonard'
Take a tour through a cave in Saint-Leonard
WATCH ABOVE: Have you ever wanted to explore a cave? As Global's Dan Spector found out, there’s one right in the heart of Montreal’s Saint-Leonard borough – Dec 1, 2017

A new discovery deep below a Saint-Leonard park is attracting a lot of attention.

People have been exploring a cave underneath Parc Pix-XII since it was discovered in 1812 but just last month, cavers found something incredible.

“It’s a very rare event in your life [that] you discover so much cave passage,” said Luc Le Blanc of the Quebec Caving Society.

Le Blanc was among the people who uncovered a vast new section of the cave.

“We broke a small hole and through that window, we could see the void. Then we made our way through,” he said.

The new section contains rock formations crews believe took 15,000 years to form.

Cavers say the cavern was formed when downward pressure from glaciers cracked the rock apart during the last ice age.

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“It’s the first place worldwide where the cave formation process of glacial tectonism was established,” Le Blanc said.

“It could be something unique in the world,” said Saint-Leonard city councilor Dominic Perri. “Normally [when] you think about caves, you think of far away in the mountains, but it’s right here in the city.”

Explorers say the cave now goes 200 metres deeper than they believed it did before the new discovery. A large portion of the cave is underwater.

“At the end of the passage we explored so far, the water is five metres deep. We have to explore with an inflatable canoe and eventually we have to leave the canoe and go with our fins,” Le Blanc said.

The city has ordered a study of the cave and it hopes to one day open it up to the public.

There is concern people could destroy 15,000-year-old rock formations as they did the first-discovered part of the cave before it was closed off by the caving society in the 1980s.

“People can enjoy this scientific discovery,” Perri said. “We don’t want them to destroy it.”

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