Richard Branson has successfully dived 124 meters into the ‘Great Blue Hole,’ considered the world’s second largest sinkhole. The sinkhole is so large that two Boeing 720 could fit inside it without a problem.
Located some 70 kilometers off the coast of Belize City, Belize, this magical sinkhole is considered the worlds deepest underwater sinkhole after the Dragon Hole located in China.
The Great Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
Even though the sinkhole is a massive attraction for divers, not much is really known about it.
It became a recognized diving location after Jacques Cousteau declared it one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world.
To find more about it, entrepreneur and philanthropist Richard Branson decided it would be a good idea to find out more about the sinkhole, which is why he organized a diving expedition, as well as to raise awareness of marine conservation.
As part of the Aquatica Submarines expedition, Fabien Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau’s grandson joined Branson to explore the underwater world and see what lies at the bottom.
The expedition was live-streamed over the internet, so people had a chance to see everything that’s down there.
Eventually, a team of scientists, marine experts, filmmakers and divers from the Aquatica Foundation, as well as Branson and Cousteau dived to the bottom of the sinkhole a number of times.
The expedition was a success. They are now recognized as the only team to have dived that deep, but also the very first to record high-resolution footage of the sinkhole’s interior, as well as the first to create a detailed 3D map of its interior.
Scientists managed to collect and analyze a plethora of data on the water quality and organisms living inside the sinkhole.
During the expedition, the team made an extraordinary discovery about the Great Blue Hole which may help unravel the mysteries behind its origins. The team reported discovered evidence that the massive structure had not always been an underwater hole.
— Discovery (@Discovery) December 2, 2018
Scientists say that the cave was once a dry cave thanks to the presence of stalactites, structures that can only form on dry land.
It has been reported that on the south wall of the sinkhole, there access to a cave system below sea level where the expedition was able to photograph the presence of large stalactites.
This indicates that in the distant past, sea level was much lower than today, and the most likely culprit for this is climate change.