Belize is not only famous for its national park, but also for the presence of a rather intriguing natural phenomenon -- the Great Blue Hole. Proceed to know the story of this sinkhole.
Did You Know?
The Great Blue Hole was not formed as a result of a single geological event, but was in fact a result of 4 independent episodes, which took place 153,000, 66,000, 60,000, and 15,000 years ago during the quaternary glaciation.
Belize is a small country situated on the Eastern coast of Central America. Located on the Caribbean coast, the country is a popular holiday destination. One of the longest barrier reefs, the Belize Barrier Reef runs for 190 - 200 miles, roughly parallel to the coastline of Belize.
Having a significant biodiversity, the barrier reef is today designated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System covers 370 sq mi of area comprising 450 cays, 3 atolls, and 7 marine reserves.
The natural wonder that the reef is enriched with is a submarine sinkhole known as the Great Blue Hole. Let's get to know in detail about what makes it one of the most intriguing works of nature.
The Great Blue Hole of Belize
» A blue hole, in general, is a circular underwater sinkhole, generally located in areas with low-lying topography. It is named after its striking blue color that stands out from the surrounding coastal area.
» The Great Blue Hole is located near one of the three atolls of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, called Lighthouse Reef, near Ambergris Caye.
» Around 300 meters across and 125 meters deep; the measurements of the blue hole are disputed till date, and vary owing to the ongoing geological activity.
» The first person to discover the site was Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a renowned scientist and explorer, in 1971.
» His ship Calypso helped him study the graphical depths of the blue hole and its origin.
» During the expedition, it was discovered that the blue hole is, in fact, marked by Karst topography. Karst topography is a landscape made of limestone, gypsum, and dolomite; this topography is characterized by sinkholes and caves.
» Scientists have discovered stalactites inside the caves, which is a direct indication, this blue hole was above the normal sea level at some point in the geological history.
» Although blue holes are also found in the Bahamas, Australia, and Egypt, the sheer grandeur and varied biodiversity of the Great Blue Hole sets it apart from the rest, and the name.
» The Belize Barrier Reef, along with the Great Blue Hole is enriched with several species of corals and invertebrates. This sinkhole is one of the popular spots for scuba diving and researchers.
» To conserve the entire reef system from pollution and a possible threat of extinction of species, Belize officially banned bottom trawling in the year 2010.
The Great Blue Hole of Belize offers much more than just a visual fiesta. There is something in store for everybody; so pack your bags, and let the adventure begin.