A recent expedition has used high-end submarines to explore the Great Blue Hole, a particularly impressive marine sinkhole discovered in Belize. Among the many fascinating discoveries that took place during the dives, one of them was the discovery of "tracks" discovered at the bottom of the hole.
Although we hurry to add that this is not evidence of Godzilla's presence on vacation or anything suspicious, this discovery remains an intriguing glimpse into the history of the Great Sea Gulf.
In December 2018, a team of scientists and explorers participated in a study mission to the Great Blue Hole. Among the crew members were a group of scientists and explorers, including billionaire Richard Branson and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of French explorer Jacques Cousteau, who first introduced the Blue Hole in the early 1970s.
Erika Bergman, chief pilot of the project submarine and oceanographer, said CNN Travel they had observed traces in the depths of the chasm that they were unable to identify and remained "open to interpretation".
The Great Blue Hole is the second largest sinkhole in the world, followed by Dragon hole in the South China Sea, with a diameter of more than 300 meters and a depth of 125 meters. It can be found in the lighthouse reef, a small atoll located more than 70 km from the mainland of Belize. As part of this project, the team also mapped the entire hole using high resolution multibeam sonar and collected environmental data on its water.
It is extremely unlikely that these traces were caused by living beings in recent times, because the bed of the sinkhole is devoid of oxygen. Dissolved oxygen levels drop to zero below the hydrogen sulphide layer about 90 meters deep in the hole. This effectively creates a cloak in the hole, preventing any flow of water beyond. Because of these uninhabitable conditions, the seabed was also littered with dead sea creatures too deep to suffocate and perish.
It is therefore reasonable to say that the tracks are the remains of a geological process. The Great Blue Hole actually started life as a cave. About 14,000 years ago, towards the end of the last ice age, the world began to melt and the sea level rose dramatically. The ceiling of the cave finally fell and flooded with water, as we see today.
The inside of the hole is still covered with stalagmites, stalactites and other geological features that you would expect to see inside a cave. However, millennia of water have allowed them to embed themselves in marine growth.
"It's good that there are spaces on our planet – and most in oceans – that are exactly as they were thousands of years ago and will remain exactly as they will be in the future, "added Bergman, speaking to CNN.