The oceans of the world are basically mysteries. We have explored just a very tiny portion of the oceans on Earth. The more we explore, the more we discover. In some cases, discoveries can be made accidentally. This is what happened in February 2019. A team of researchers who were studying Darvel bay off the island of Borneo in Malaysia stumbled upon something that they never expected to find. Deep in the blue waters of the South China Sea, divers researching marine life accidentally discovered an amazing new blue hole.
Experts have cataloged several blue holes scattered in the oceans of the world. They are strange dark voids that have lighter shadows around them. It is believed that these holes were formed thousands of years ago, and are swallowed up by rising tides. Many modern experts are in awe of their mystical appeal.
Popular Blue Holes
There are plenty of blue holes in the ocean that are popular spots for scuba divers and boat trippers. In the Lighthouse Reef in Belize, there is a 400-foot gorge. Right off the coast of the Paracel islands, there is a record-breaking sinkhole. For many people, these are the most amazing spectacles on Earth, which is why they are often visited.
The Great Blue Hole
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people set off to sites like the Great Blue Hole. This is the most popular blue hole, and explorer Jacques Cousteau discovered it in 1971. He happened upon it accidentally in his research vessel, Calypso, and he documented its depths. Since a considerable portion of the ocean has not yet been explored, there are plenty of holes and caverns that are not listed in tourist brochures, or listed in science books. There are plenty of holes, just waiting to be discovered. Today, it is one of the most frequently visited blue holes. In 1997, a team of explorers ventured to the bottom of the gorge, which is 400-feet under the sea.
The Dragon Hole
The Dragon Hole is the largest blue hole. It stretches down about 990-feet below the surface of the South China Sea. Some people believe that the hole is linked to the legend of the Monkey King, who is a character from centuries-old classic Chinese literature.
How Were They Created?
According to experts, these blue holes were first created during the Ice Age. At this time, the sea level was 390 feet lower than what it is today. When these areas were exposed to fresh air, they eroded over time. When the sea level rose, and the holes were covered with water, they still remain. In may blue holes, limestone was exposed and weathered due to the rain and other chemicals in the atmosphere.
Very Little Oxygen
The blue holes that exist in the oceans today stretch very deep down below sea level. Because there is very little oxygen at these depths, there is very little sea life in the holes, which just makes them more creepy and adds to the mystery. Since divers have oxygen tanks, they are willing to venture down into the holes, getting a good look at the murky abyss.
The group of researchers who made the discovery in February 2019 were from the Malaysian conservation group, Sabah Parks. They were joining divers on an expedition off the eastern coast of Borneo. The point of the dive was to collect information about the sea life in the region. Instead, they made an incredible discovery.
The team was using remote sensing technology to scan the bay. They picked up something strange that they believed to be coral. Upon closer inspection, they realized that it was a rare blue hole. When the team made the discovery, the divers were able to explore its depths, about 50-feet below the ocean surface. The senior researcher, Nasrulhakim Maidin, says that they were able to cover the site with just one oxygen tank. He also said that it felt like they were moving over a mountain range in the sea. If you want to visit the Darvel Bay blue hole, it is just a 20-minute boat ride from the mainland.
More To Be Discovered
This incredible discovery is just further proof that there are plenty of discoveries to be made in our world’s oceans. Nobody really knows what is living on the floors of every ocean on Earth. Today, just 5 percent of the world’s oceans have been explored. This means that we have no idea what the remaining 95 percent holds. It is quite possible that we will never get a full understanding of the oceans of our world, but with each new discovery like the blue hole found in February, we learn a little bit more.