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World’s Second Largest Blue Hole Discovered Off Coast of Mexico

Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico – The second largest blue hole in the world has been discovered off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The discovery was made by scientists from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Ecosur) and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Conacyt) in 2021, but only now have researchers revealed its existence.

The blue hole is located on the sea bed of the Bay of Chetumal and has been reported to be 274 meters deep across a surface area of 13,690 square meters. The hole has been named Taam Ja’ which means “deep water” in Mayan.

Blue holes are vertical marine caves that have been formed over the stretch of thousands of years following the Ice Age, and are often hundreds of feet deep. They are also widely recognized as “ecological hotspots” with a mind-blowing variety of plant and life species living within them. But little is known about them in the world of science as they’re incredibly difficult to access.

The deepest blue hole in the world is reported in Sansha Yongle, China, with a depth of 300 meters below sea level. While the Chetumal blue hole is the second deepest, it is the first to be identified within an estuarine system.

According to a statement from Conacyt, the finding is of great relevance for marine scientific research because it offers information on what the environment and climate were like thousands of years ago.

Such information can help to understand environmental and geological processes, the connectivity of aquifers and the origin of water in these hydro geological systems.

The Mexican blue hole Taam Ja’ is almost circular on the surface, covering an area of approximately 147,000 square feet. Its sides are steep, with 80-degree slopes that form the structure of a large cone covered by biofilm, sediment, limestone and gypsum overhangs.

The mouth of the blue hole is located at a depth of between 4.5 and 5 meters below sea level, where the properties of the water change significantly with temperature and salinity gradients.

The blue hole investigation was conducted using scuba diving, echo sounders, CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) profilers, and the collection of water samples in September 2021. Following their investigations so far, the researchers have said that they only expected to find basic life forms in Taam Ja’ but nature is thriving and surviving in the deep murky depths.

The team of researchers pointed out that as the chasm is close to the coasts of Mexico and Belize, it’s discovery could lead to an exciting increase of both local and foreign visitors.

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