At the bottom of the Blue Holes
The life undersea is as secretive and intriguing as the undiscovered mysteries of the space. While many explorations are manned to space, very few researchers are brave enough to dive deep into the sea.
Off the coast of Florida, deep at the bottom of the ocean, are massive blue holes that formed thousands of years ago. What the unexplored holes contain has remained largely a mystery — but now, scientists want to change that.
In August, a team made up of members from the Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the US Geological Survey is set to explore a “blue hole” off the Gulf Coast of Florida. “Blue holes” are underwater sinkholes that open below the seabed.
The hole, dubbed “Green Banana,” opens up at 155 feet below sea level. The bottom of the hole is at a depth of about 425 feet.
According to researchers, the holes were likely formed roughly 8,000 to 12,000 years ago, when the Florida coastline was about 100 miles further offshore from where it is now due to lower sea levels.
In addition to searching for unique or new species during the mission, scientists are looking to explore the holes’ role in the global carbon cycle, a possible connection between the sinkholes and Florida’s groundwater, nutrient secretion from the hole that could be affecting the surrounding area and whether or not to make the holes protected areas.
In 2019, a team of divers went to the bottom of the 237-foot-deep Amberjack Hole, Florida. An analysis of the specimens collected showed large amounts of dissolved inorganic carbon, both in the water and sand, leading the researchers to believe the blue holes may be capable of supporting some kinds of microbial life.