A team of scientists will soon delve into the deepest "blue hole" ever discovered.
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.
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.
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.
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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