Belize: What's in the deepest blue hole in the world?

Posted on February 18, 2019 by UNITED PHOTO PRESS MAGAZINE

A team of scientists and explorers, who also included Richard Branson, Virgin's millionaire, and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, went looking for what could exist in the Great Blue Hole in Belize. 

The expedition began in December 2018 and ended earlier this month. The results, CNN reported on Saturday, were "surprising." The team, led by oceanographer Erika Bergman, used two submarines and managed to capture images inside the blue hole, so they could construct a 3D map of their interior. "We have made a navigation map that is almost complete, which will allow us to locate everything in the mesh of the whole hole," said oceanographer Erika Bergman and leader of the CNN expedition.

The world's deepest blue hole, or blue eye, as some call it, was placed on the map of expeditions by scientist Jacques Cousteau in 1971 and is about 300 meters (984 feet) in diameter and approximately 125 meters (410 feet ) of depth. For Bergman, one of the most striking discoveries was the existence of stalactites never seen before - a kind of mineral formations in the form of ice-pendants - about 407 feet from the hole, very close to the bottom. 

"It was very exciting to be able to observe that they are in the hole, never before they had been located," he says. But the oceanographer says that the best experience of this expedition was to be submerged in the depths of the great blue hole and plunge into the darkness. "One of the most incredible situations in this great hole is the layer of hydrogen sulfide, which descends about 300 feet and cuts out all the light, allowing explorers to plunge into the darkness. it's all black and lifeless, "Bergman explained.

The team led by Bergman can still see, and thanks to the Sonar submarines they carried, the complex features of the hole. "It was possible to be 20 or 30 meters away from a stalactite or a piece of the wall and see it with all the perfect details, much better than what the vision could provide," said the scientist. However, it does safeguard that some mysteries persist. "Some unidentifiable points were found at the bottom of the hole.

" The team was equally pleased to realize that the Great Blue Hole was free of garbage. "There were basically two or three pieces of plastic - and besides, it was very, very clear," says Bergman, noting the work of the Belize Audubon Society, which helps protect the hole. "It's great that there are spaces on our planet that are as they were thousands of years ago."