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Scientists To Explore A Mysterious 425-foot Underwater Sinkhole Called ‘Green Banana’

Ann Moises

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  • The ‘Green Banana’ is a 425-foot underwater sinkhole. It is located off the coast of Florida.
  • Scientists are preparing to embark on a year-long expedition, which will begin in August.
  • The team will explore the depths of this “blue hole” and conduct a comprehensive study to learn more about them.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is funding the exploration of a 425-foot mysterious sinkhole known as the “Green Banana.”

Led by a team of scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida Atlantic University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the US Geological Society, the mission is set in August and will last for a year.

Found 50 miles off the coast of St. Peterberg, this blue hole lies approximately 155 feet on the ocean floor.

Jim Cutler, a senior scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory, commented that it is one of the deepest “blue holes” ever discovered.

A boat captain gave it its name in the mid 70s. This was after he saw a skin of green banana floating by it, said boat captain and longtime commercial fisherman Larry Borden. Furthermore, fishermen started calling blue holes “springs” in the 1530s because fresh water stream out of them.

Scientists confirmed that there are 20 blue holes on the west coast of Florida, although there are probably more. Dr. Emily Hall, a scientist from Mote Marine Laboratory, said they can’t be spotted from above; hence, also difficult to count.

Prior studies show that “blue holes” are teeming with a wide array of biological life.

Within these underwater sinkholes are plants, pools of fish, and a myriad of sponges . The water there is extraordinarily clear, that’s why divers love them.

Yet, there is still much to be discovered. According to NOAA, the commonly narrow entry points of these blue holes make it impossible for an automated submersible to pass through. This is why there’s only very limited information about these sinkholes.

Groups of scientists recently explored a blue hole near the Green Banana. “Amberjack” is about 350 feet deep, and found 30 miles off Sarasota. At the bottom they found two dead smalltooth sawfish, which are considered as endangered species.

NOAA described “Amberjack,” as an “oasis in an otherwise barren sea floor.”

The plan is to lower a 600-pound lander to explore the depths of the “Green Banana.” Divers will also collect water and sediment samples, and complete a biological survey, said Dr. Hall.

The excitement comes from the idea that it is an exploration, she stated. They don’t know what they will find there biologically and chemically.

“We have an idea. But every time we go down there we find something new,” shared Dr. Hall.

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