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‘nother Underwater Cavern

Scientists discovered the world’s second-deepest blue sinkhole near the Yucatán Peninsula off the coast of Mexico. This huge and mysterious 900ft-deep blue hole under the sea is spread over an area of 13,660sqmt. As per a report published in science news portal Live Science, the blue hole has been found in the central portion of Chetumal Bay.

In fact, scientists discovered this huge sinkhole in September 2021. However, the Marine Science journal published detailed information about the hole in the last week of April 2023. A report suggests that limestone is more abundant in this area… even at the bottom of the sea. Due to the erosion of limestones in contact with water, they gradually took the appearance of a large hole. Viewed from the sky, the hole can be mistaken for an ordinary swamp.

Researchers have claimed that the submerged blue hole has a nearly circular shape at its surface with steep sides. These form a large conic structure covered by biofilms, sediments, limestones and gypsum ledges. According to a study carried out by researchers from the Department of Observation and Study of the Land, the Atmosphere and the Ocean, Chetumal, Mexico, scientists conducted a submarine exploration through echo-sounding, thermohaline profiles, chemical analysis of collected water samples and scuba diving ahead of the first documentation of this geomorphologic feature. They noticed significant variations in salinity and temperature inside the blue hole. While the surface salinity values represent the brackish conditions of the Chetumal Bay estuary, salinity values at deep layers inside the blue hole have helped researchers come to the conclusion that the main source of water is seawater.

The study paper reads: “Monitoring of the temporal changes in the physicochemical and biological features inside the TJBH (Taam ja’ Blue Hole) is needed to understand the possible variability in biogeochemical processes and to explore the water exchange with the surrounding estuary of Chetumal Bay.

This underwater cavern has been named Taam Ja, which means deep water in Mayan. There is no oxygen in this hole. As the colour of the water is so dark, sunlight cannot penetrate the water and reach deep into this cavern. Currently, marine scientists are investigating whether there is any life in this oxygen-free sinkhole. There is one such giant 987ft-deep blue hole, called Dragon Hole, in the South China Sea.

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