Mysterious tracks have been found at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole, the largest ocean chasm in the world, located about 100 kilometers from the coast of Belize.
Last December, a team of explorers, including billionaire Richard Branson and the grandson of French explorer Jacques Cousteau, Fabien Cousteau, took part in a diving mission at the bottom of the hole to discover what was there. low. At over 1000 feet wide and 410 feet deep, it's a natural wonder largely unexplored.
It has formed like a limestone cave hundreds of thousands of years ago when the sea level was much lower. At the end of the last ice age, the ice caps melted and the sea level increased, submerging the cave into what is now the Great Blue Hole.
Last November and December, the teams completed more than 20 dives in a vacuum to create a 3D map. One of these dives was broadcast live on Discovery Channel. Branson and Cousteau, led by submarine pilot Erika Bergman, venture into the depths of the hole.
In an interview with CNN Travel, Bergman talked about what she saw inside the Great Blue Hole. She added that they had found unpublished stalactites at the base of the hole: "It was very exciting because they had not been mapped before, they had not been discovered before . "
Even though the water was completely dark, high-resolution sonar equipment on board allowed them to see the hidden features of the formation. "You can be 20 or 30 meters from a stalactite or a large piece of wall and see it in great detail, better than what sight might even provide," she said. , adding that they had also found unidentifiable traces at the base of the hole whose source is "subject to interpretation".
The researchers are about to complete the 3D sonar map of the hole. "It's really cool, it's this mesh sonar analysis of the whole hole of a thousand-foot diameter," Bergman told the website.
A blog post from Aquatica Submarines, who participated in the expedition, said: "The view provided by the map is improved by other environmental data collected by the submarine in the Blue Hole. Once processed and collected, this data will be shared with the Belize Government and the wider scientific community of the legacy of the expedition. "
In addition to mystery trails, Branson also recently reported finding plastic bottles at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole. In a blog post about diving, he wrote: "As for the mythical monsters of the depths? Well, the real monsters that face the ocean are climate change – and plastics. Unfortunately, we saw plastic bottles at the bottom of the hole, a real scourge of the ocean. We all have to get rid of disposable plastics. "
A diving documentary, produced by INE Entertainment, is expected this spring.