Why Is the Great Blue Hole in Belize Famous (and What Is at the Bottom)?

The stuff of postcards, travel catalogs, and a picturesque tropical getaway, the Great Blue Hole is not just a famous site but also a thing of curiosity and importance as well. From its ominous dark blue hue in the center to its thriving marine life around, this iconic landmark is one of the country’s biggest draws, literally.
Why Is the Great Blue Hole in Belize Famous
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The Great Blue Hole has been wrapped in awe for many years since its earliest discoveries, now with the help of the latest technology, light has been shed on the mysteries of its depths. The deepest levels of the hole aren’t to be taken lightly, even the experienced divers have swum to their deaths.

What Is the Great Blue Hole?

The Great Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole right at the center of the Lighthouse Reef in Belize. This natural wonder is located right off the coast of Central American country, some 70 km or 43 miles from the mainland, east of Belize City.

One of the most iconic sites in the country, the Great Blue Hole is an explorer’s paradise. Surrounded by marine life and a picturesque natural beauty all-around, this sinkhole is a wonder in itself. The famous French explorer Jacques Costeau dubbed the site one of the best scuba diving sites in the world.

What Does the Great Blue Hole Look Like?

By measurement, the hole is one large circle that stretches 318 meters or 1,043 feet across and 125 meters or 410 feet deep. From above, the hole forms a perfect circle surrounded by a coral reef. Its sheer size is emphasized by the darker shade of blue which also signifies its depth.

The Great Blue Hole’s measurements make it the world’s largest marine sinkhole, drawing divers, explorers, and even seasoned travelers to its depths. The hole even made it to many of the world’s most coveted travel lists.

Why Is the Great Blue Hole So Important?

Apart from its tourist charm and excursion-worthy curiosities, the Great Blue Hole is also important in terms of its rich marine biodiversity, and geological formations. It hosts a plethora of marine life because of the living conditions around the hole provides.

The Great Blue Hole is part of the greater Belize Barrier Reef that holds a significant concentration of marine life. Several geological formations are also present in the hole’s depths, like stalactites, indicating that the sinkhole was once above water.

What Makes the Great Blue Hole Unique and Special?

The history of its formation is the Great Blue Hole’s biggest draw. While a lot of tourists and seasoned travelers only assume that it’s just an underwater sinkhole, the Great Blue Hole was, in fact, formed when it wasn’t submerged in water.

The analyses in the stalactites taken from the depths of the hole indicated, that the hole was formed when sea levels were much lower. As the ocean begins to rise again, more than 50,000 years ago, it flooded the entire cave, fully submerging the site.

What Ocean Is the Great Blue Hole in?’

The Great Blue Hole, east of the Belizean mainland, in the Caribbean sea is located in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The submarine hole sits along the Belize Barrier Reef in the Lighthouse Reef, which holds a significant concentration of marine life, protected by conservation efforts.

Can You See the Great Blue Hole From Space?

Its visibility allows astronauts to take clear photographs of its location and the surrounding reef. When the NASA Earth Observatory flew over the Caribbean, the crews have taken few photographs of the iconic site. This has been a source of the many Great Blue Hole pictures you see on the internet today.

When Was the Great Blue Hole Discovered?

The Great Blue Hole came to light when the French explorer and marine biologist Jacques Costeau discovered the site in 1971. He explored the site with his vessel the “Calypso”, seeking to know more about the history, geology, and biology of the site.

After exploring and carefully studying the site, Jacques Costeau dubbed the marine hole one of the “best diving sites in the world”. Awed by its beauty and peculiar things, a lot of studies and exploration have been made in the site after Jacques Costeau’s discovery.

How Old Is the Great Blue Hole?

According to the many studies done on the hole, there hasn’t been any accurate and widely accepted age pinpointing to the onset of the Great Blue Hole’s existence. Some accounts have reported that it may have formed some 150,000+ years ago, while a plethora of other studies have suggested that it has been formed some time 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, and 15,000 years ago.

Adding to the charm and mystery of the site, the ambiguity of its formation and the current makeup of its depth leaves more room for further studies and exploration. Now, the Great Blue Hole stands as a testament to the wonders of nature.

How Did the Great Blue Hole Form?

Some 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, or 15,000 years ago, the site was formed during the final glacial age, as a limestone cave that used to be on the surface as the water levels were significantly lower. However, after the last ice age, the sea levels began to rise, flooding the cave and submerging the entire site.

When the sea was rising and the water above the cave was increasing, the roof eventually collapsed revealing the inner portion of the cave that remained intact. This resulted in the large blue hole you can see today.

How Deep Is the Great Blue Hole?

According to recent explorations, the Great Blue Hole is reported to be over 125 meters or 410 feet deep. With the help of the modern advancements of technology, through 3D Sonar Mapping, explorers have traced and measured the bottom of the hole safely.

Through the latest 3D Sonar Mapping technology, explorers have identifies numerous formations of stalactites inside. A plethora of other intricate things have also been found, others are unidentifiable and thus, open to interpretation.

What Is Inside the Great Blue Hole?

The Great Blue Hole used to be a cavern, so upon exploring its depths, explorers have found intricate cave formations other than the stalactites that were initially found. However, no live diver can go deep in as conditions won’t allow even the best-trained divers.

What Is at the Bottom of the Great Blue Hole?

The bottom of the Great Blue Hole isn’t for the living. The latest exploration has reported that deep within the hole, there is a layer of hydrogen sulfide that descends 300 feet down, blanketing the further depths into darkness and lifelessness.

Due to this layer, sunlight can’t get in, it’s completely black and there is no oxygen, where it can’t provide proper conditions for life to thrive. There were many dead things scattered across the bottom like conch shells, and such.

Why Is the Great Blue Hole a Natural Wonder?

The formation of the Great Blue Hole, from a limestone cavern that collapsed due to the increasing water levels, thus turning it into a large blue hole is reason enough for it to become a wonder. The mysteries of its depth, the beauty of its shallow layers is everything a natural wonder needs to be worthy of an excursion.