In Mexico, a 274-metre-deep sea chasm has been discovered



by LORENZO CIOTTI

In Mexico, a 274-metre-deep sea chasm has been discovered

In Mexico, a team of researchers belonging to the Colegio de la Frontera Sur discovered a blue hole in the Yucatan peninsula, which reaches a depth of 274.4 meters and has an area of 13,690 square meters. These exceptional dimensions make it the second deepest in the world.

The karst structure is in second place in depth, after the blue hole discovered in China in 2016, the Sansha Yongle, whose depth reaches 300 meters. The formation was called Taam ja, which derives from the expression that the Mayans used to indicate deep water, and reaches a depth of 274 meters.

Unlike marine trenches and oceanic abysses that are formed by tectonic plate movements and reach depths of up to 11,000 meters, blue holes are coastal karst formations that gradually develop over centuries and millennia, due to the frequent movement of seawater into and over soils made up of limestone, something that abounds in and around the Yucatan Peninsula.

In Mexico, a 274-metre-deep sea chasm has been discovered

The sampling and investigation of the blue hole, located on the seabed of Chetumal Bay, was carried out in September 2021 using diving and echo sounders, among other tools, but the investigations only ended this year.

The hole is almost circular in shape on the surface, the size of which at 13,690 meters is equivalent to that of two professional football fields. The sides are steep, with 80 degree slopes forming the structure of a large cone covered by sediments, limestone and chalk.

Marine sinkholes are those deep chasms found on the seabed. Their formation is due to karst phenomena which occurred when the sea level was considerably lower, as in the Pleistocene. Following the rising sea levels, these sinkholes are invaded by sea water.

These formations are still little known as they are very difficult for humans to explore. The most famous are Longdong, in the Paracelsus Islands, China, the deepest in the world Dean's Blue Hole, in the Bahamas, of 202 m; Great Blue Hole, Belize, 123 m; Blue Hole, in the Gulf of Aqaba, 100 m.