What scientists found at the bottom of this mysterious 'Blue Hole'

Few have dared to venture to the eerie depths of this gaping void. But a crew from Aquatica Submarines took the plunge, and what they found was unexpected.

The Great Blue Hole is the world's largest sinkhole, measuring a massive 300 meters (984 feet) across and roughly 125 meters (410 feet) deep.

The team of scientists, which included Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of iconic underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau embarked on their odyssey in December 2018, determined to discover the secrets of this oceanic oddity.

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The Great Blue Hole in Belize is one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world. Recognized as a top underwater tourist destination, its allure brings people from all over the world who are anxious to see what lies more than 40m (120 feet) feet beneath the waves in a marine sink hole that is 318m (1043 feet) across. Discovery channel places this location as number one on its list of the top ten amazing places on earth. Jacques Cousteau made the site famous when he brought his ship, the Calypso here in 1971 to chart the depths and explore the caverns that were formed part way to the bottom. The formation of the circular hole is, in itself a fascinating story. Limestone caverns that were once above sea level became flooded when the oceans rose up in various stages of earth's history. Initially, the depth of the Great Blue Hole was measured at 125m (410 feet). It has been slowly filling with sediment that has brought the floor up one metre (3 feet) higher. Although life is sparse within the Great Blue Hole, the beauty is undeniable. Limestone stalactites hang from the ledges at 40m, creating interesting underwater structures. Clues to our geological history are revealed in the uniform slant of the stalactites, indicating a shift in the great plates beneath. Scuba divers are not the only ones who venture into the depths of the Great Blue Hole. Two submarines were sent to the bottom in December 2018 to map its interior. It's no wonder that people are so fascinated by the Great Blue Hole. The ocean holds more mystery than we can imagine and sites like this one beg to be explored and discovered. Life at the edge of the hole is abundant and colorful. Sharks, parrot fish, turtles, and creatures of all description thrive where there is light and coral. Divers are often greeted by amazing animals when they enter the water and again when they return to the shallows near the surface. When divers talk among themselves and compare experiences from around the world, the question often comes up about whether the other has been to the Great Blue Hole. It will likely remain one of the most appealing and desirable dive experiences for seasoned scuba enthusiasts.
The French sea explorer and documentary-maker Jacques Cousteau, shown in this 1975 photo, died Wednesday morning June 25, 1997. He was 87. The underwater adventurer, filmmaker, author, environmentalist and scuba pioneer who opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers had reportedly been ill for months. (AP Photo)
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic has set its next documentary, which will focus on famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Two-time Oscar-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus (The Farm, Angola USA, What Happened, Miss Simone?) will direct and produce, with Oscar winner Dan Cogan (Icarus) as producer. Oscar winner Evan Hayes (Free Solo) will also produce under […]
Jacques-Yves Cousteau Oceanographer, Environmentalist 1975. (AP Photo)
The Great Blue Hole in Belize is one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world. Recognized as a top underwater tourist destination, its allure brings people from all over the world who are anxious to see what lies more than 40m (120 feet) feet beneath the waves in a marine sink hole that is 318m (1043 feet) across. Discovery channel places this location as number one on its list of the top ten amazing places on earth. Jacques Cousteau made the site famous when he brought his ship, the Calypso here in 1971 to chart the depths and explore the caverns that were formed part way to the bottom. The formation of the circular hole is, in itself a fascinating story. Limestone caverns that were once above sea level became flooded when the oceans rose up in various stages of earth's history. Initially, the depth of the Great Blue Hole was measured at 125m (410 feet). It has been slowly filling with sediment that has brought the floor up one metre (3 feet) higher. Although life is sparse within the Great Blue Hole, the beauty is undeniable. Limestone stalactites hang from the ledges at 40m, creating interesting underwater structures. Clues to our geological history are revealed in the uniform slant of the stalactites, indicating a shift in the great plates beneath. Scuba divers are not the only ones who venture into the depths of the Great Blue Hole. Two submarines were sent to the bottom in December 2018 to map its interior. It's no wonder that people are so fascinated by the Great Blue Hole. The ocean holds more mystery than we can imagine and sites like this one beg to be explored and discovered. Life at the edge of the hole is abundant and colorful. Sharks, parrot fish, turtles, and creatures of all description thrive where there is light and coral. Divers are often greeted by amazing animals when they enter the water and again when they return to the shallows near the surface. When divers talk among themselves and compare experiences from around the world, the question often comes up about whether the other has been to the Great Blue Hole. It will likely remain one of the most appealing and desirable dive experiences for seasoned scuba enthusiasts.
Cette cave sous-marine, baptisée le Grand Trou bleu par Jacques Cousteau, est une destination prisée des amateurs de plongée sous-marine. D'après Discovery Channel, il s'agit d'un des 10 plus beaux endroits au monde. Cette cave est profonde de plus de 130 pieds. Parfois, des requins rôdent dans les profondeurs. Une plongée dans le Grand Trou bleu n'est pas pour ceux qui ont froid aux yeux!
cimitero subacqueo giapponeseLa scoperta del cimitero subacqueo avvenne nel 1969, grazie a Jacques Cousteau: il sito è considerato una tomba di guerra giapponese.
cimitero subacqueo giapponeseLa scoperta del cimitero subacqueo avvenne nel 1969, grazie a Jacques Cousteau: il sito è considerato una tomba di guerra giapponese.
The French sea explorer and documentary-maker Jacques Cousteau, shown in this undated photo, died Wednesday morning June 25, 1997 at his Paris home. He was 87. The underwater adventurer, filmmaker, author, environmentalist and scuba pioneer who opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers had reportedly been ill for months. (AP Photo/The Cousteau Society)
The French sea explorer and documentary-maker Jacques Cousteau, shown off the Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia in this undated photo, died Wednesday morning June 25, 1997 at his Paris home. He was 87. The underwater adventurer, filmmaker, author, environmentalist and scuba pioneer who opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers had reportedly been ill for months. (AP Photo/The Cousteau Society)
Actor Ted Danson, a founder and board member of Oceana, an ocean advocacy group, left, and Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009, prior to testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on offshore drilling. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Cover of Jacques Cousteau's autobiography "The Man, the octopus and the orchid", written with Susan Schiefelbein, which will be on sale on July 1, 1997. The French undersea explorer, documentary-maker, author and environmentalist who opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers died Wednesday June 25, 1997 at his home in Paris. He was 87. (AP Photo)
A boy sits on the dock of the Marseille port, southern France, looking at Jacques Cousteau's famous boat the Calypso, Thursday June 26, 1997. The Calypso has been moored in Marseille since 1986, following her sinking in Singapore when she was hit by a barge. Cousteau, the French undersea explorer, documentary-maker, author and environmentalist who opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers, died Wednesday in Paris. He was 87. (AP PHOTO/Florian Launette)
File - Cables lift French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau's famed ship the Calypso at a Singapore shipyard in this Thursday, Jan. 25, 1996 file photo after the research ship tipped over and sank Jan. 8 after being hit by a barge on Singapore's west coast. The widow of legendary marine explorer Jacques Cousteau said Tuesday, June 8, 2010 she is trying to relaunch the commandant's iconic ship the Calypso _ sunk, badly damaged and now in rehab _ in time to mark the centennial of his birth. (AP Photo / Mike Fiala, file)
Jacques Cousteau drives home a point during a news conference at the United Nations on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 1992. The explorer and conservationist urged adoption of his Bill of Rights for Future Generations by the U.N., General Assembly. His plan puts into writing obligations for care of the planet for the future. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The French sea explorer and documentary-maker Jacques Cousteau died Wednesday morning June 25, 1997. He was 87. The underwater adventurer, filmmaker, author, environmentalist and scuba pioneer who opened the mysterious world beneath the seas to millions of landlocked readers and viewers had reportedly been ill for months. Photo taken in 1974 as Cousteau started to seach for the legendary city of Atlantis. (AP Photo)
United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, right, meets with legendary Sea explorer Captain Jacques Cousteau at the U.N. on Tuesday, June 21, 1994. (AP Photo/David Karp)
Marine explorer Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau is seen in Miami, July 14, 1986. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Jacques Cousteau, famed undersea explorer, says nuclear power is a disaster waiting to happen. Cousteau during news conference in New York Feb. 17, 1977, says the answer to the world’s energy problems is the sun shining on the oceans. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff)
French explorer Jacques Cousteau will concentrate a $2 million search for the legendary city of Atlantis around the Island of Thira, also known as Santorini shown Nov. 8, 1975. (AP Photo)
French sea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau shows a drawing of the Pre-Continental 3, a 50- ton sphere in which five oceanographers will live at 55 meters under the sea for 15 days, April 8, 1964. (AP Photo/Rene Maestri)
Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau's bathysphere is prepared for immersion during trials in Villefranche Harbor on the French Riviera, Oct. 22, 1960. The famed undersea explorer will soon undertake a thorough probe in an undersea ravine said to be more than a mile deep near Villefranche. The commander has already discovered unusual fauna in the ravine. (AP Photo)
Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco opened the exhibition "Man Beneath the Sea" at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, April 14, 1962. They were received by Commander Cousteau, director of the museum. Cousteau shows the prince and princess the Galcazzi Italian underwater equipment. (AP Photo/Rene Maestri)
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Many have explored the Blue Hole but it took two submarines to map the floor of the cavern, and what they found was somewhat unusual.

Researchers noted, that they found no signs of life or organic matter. The reason for this is a layer of hydrogen sulfide, which creates a barrier destroying oxygen beneath it.

Despite this discovery the Blue Hole continues to fascinate many for its unusual beauty and deadly secret.

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