What secret lies behind the deepest blue hole on the planet that researchers have discovered? – Evening edition West-France

What secret lies behind the deepest blue hole on the planet that researchers have discovered? – Evening edition West-France
What secret lies behind the deepest blue hole on the planet that researchers have discovered? – Evening edition West-France

This is a new record. The deepest underwater cavity on the planet has been discovered off the coast of Mexico, in Chetumal Bay. Named Taam Ja’, this “blue hole” would be at least 420 meters deep, thus dethroning Sansha Yongle, located in China.

Off the coast of Central America, in Chetumal Bay, an imposing deep blue disk stands out from the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It is a hole, a cavity about a hundred meters in diameter and at least 420 meters deep. Specialists from Ecosur, a Mexican scientific research center, have not yet reached the bottom of this abyss, called Taam Ja’ – “deep waters” in French – in reference to the Mayan culture present in the region. However, researchers are certain of one thing: this is the deepest blue hole in the world, that is to say a more or less circular and vertical excavation which extends just below sea level. The Ecosur team announced the news in a press release published on April 29.

Usually circular in shape, blue holes owe their name to the strong contrast in color that exists between the dark blue due to their depth and the turquoise blue of the rocks and other reefs that surround them. Another characteristic: the depth, the reduction in the oxygen content, and the poor circulation of water inside do not favor the proliferation of animal or plant life inside these underwater cavities.

A blue hole off the coast of China

Taam Ja’ was until then relatively little known. It was discovered and revealed to the public for the first time in February 2023. At the time, scientists estimated its depth at 274 meters. Or about twenty meters less than the Sansha Yongle, a blue hole reported in China, with a depth of 300 meters below sea level. Before the new expertise of the depth of Taam Ja’, the Chinese cavity was considered to be the deepest blue hole on Earth.

Read also: The Great Blue Hole reveals its secrets

In the region, Mexico’s blue hole is not alone. A few hundred kilometers to the south is the Great Blue Hole of Belize. This is an ancient cave that collapsed and formed a huge chasm 318 meters wide and 124 meters deep.

A labyrinth of caves and tunnels towards the Caribbean Sea?

In Mexico, the study carried out on Taam Ja’ by scientists and published in the journal Frontiers end of April 2024, reveals another, more surprising fact. “The characteristics of the water located in the depths of the hole strangely resemble those found in the Caribbean Sea between 0 and 150 meters depth”relays the magazine Geo . This new data suggests “the probable existence of underground connections between Chetumal Bay and the Caribbean Sea”explains Ecosur in its press release.

Further research using underwater navigation technology will be carried out to decipher the maximum depth of the Taam Ja’. Scientists believe they have discovered an interconnected system of caves and tunnels.

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