Get a short URL
With a depth of more than 300 meters and a depth of 125 meters, the old submarine sinkhole off the coast of Belize is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Scientists engaged in a very detailed three-week study of the Great Blue Hole shared some of their findings online.
Erika Bergman, oceanographer and pilot of one of two mini submarines equipped with a high-resolution multibeam sonar charged with mapping what she described as a "majestic acid sinkhole" "published on his blog his impressions on the mysterious chasm.
"It was there in another world and our data is another way to share this revelation," wrote Bergman, referring to the detailed 3D study of the mission's geographic training.
The mission, conducted late last year and funded in part by Virgin's founder and billionaire, Richard Branson, has allowed scientists to perform nearly two dozen dives to create a 3D map of the pit using advanced sonar equipment and capture unique images, never captured before. marine life encrusted along the stalactite formations in the hole, as well as terraces worn down by thousands of years of water erosion.
Speaking to CNN Travel about his work, Bergman said that one of the most mysterious discoveries was the unidentifiable "traces" located deep in the hole, which remained "subject to interpretation", given the total lack of 39, oxygen at this depth.
In his blog, the sub-operator detailed sulfur sulfide gas, toxic, corrosive and potentially lethal, located about 300 feet below the surface inside the hole, in which Bergman and his colleagues have "dive directly" for the mission.
Using embedded instruments, the researchers found that, as they had predicted, the bottom of the pit was "completely anoxic", meaning "there is not a drop of water". oxygen below the [hydrogen sulphide] layer."
Bergman also reported a strange "conch cemetery", an expanse of seabed where she and her colleagues observed "hundreds of dead conchs that were likely to have fallen into the hole and could not escape the steep walls. to survive long without oxygen ".
The oceanographer was pleasantly surprised to find that the water in the chasm showed no sign of human impact, as the team had "roughly three or three small pieces of plastic" collected.
"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, "she said.
The Great Blue Hole, once a mass of dry land submerged during the last Ice Age, 10,000 to 14,000 years ago, became a subject of popular interest after the exploration of the legendary marine explorer French Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s for his show "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau."
Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the great modern explorer, defender of nature and explorer in his own right, took part in the recent mission.