With so many hotly debated points circulating the media, it’s no shock that most of the smaller voices – even those advocating for the most important of issues – are typically drowned out by those that have simply a bit extra pull. A thousand individuals crying out is sufficient to get the world speaking, but all it takes is one main voice to actually make them pay attention.
When billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson embarked on a daring undersea exploration in the identify of marine conservation, hundreds of thousands of individuals tuned in for a probability to witness one thing really exceptional. However as Branson journeyed deeper into the abyss, he found a surprising fact that stands to devastate all of mankind…
Situated some 40 miles off the coast of Belize Metropolis, the Great Blue Gap has marveled those that’ve skirted its crystal-blue waters for during the last half-century. At over 1,000 ft across, this large cavern was lengthy thought-about the most important of its type.
The opening is on the middle of the Lighthouse Reef, one of many many small atolls that make up the world’s second-largest coral reef system, the Belize Barrier Reef.
As such, the Nice Blue Hole is protected as a World Heritage Website underneath the United Nations Instructional, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Chabil Mar Villas
However though the opening itself has been recognized to researchers because the mid 20th century, it wasn’t till a famed marine explorer finally visited the location that anybody absolutely appreciated it.
When Jacques Cousteau visited the location in 1971, the world lastly began to take discover of its magnificence. Using the cellular lab aboard his ship Calypso, Cousteau was the primary to measure the depth of the opening — a exceptional 407 ft.
Nationwide Geographic Society
A 1991 expedition led by the Cambrian Basis sought to verify Cousteau’s unique measurement, and to their surprise, they discovered that the French adventurer was almost spot on.
Though the title of the world’s largest marine sinkhole now belongs to China’s Dragon Gap, the Great Blue Hole continues to be large enough to suit two Boeing 724 airplanes with room to spare.
Michael Wass / Flickr
Following Cousteau’s exploration, the location has since develop into a well-liked scuba spot among skilled divers, with some citing it as the most effective on the planet.
Palau Dive Adventures
But despite all the attention that the Nice Blue Gap has gained through the years, little was really recognized concerning the large cavern and what it contained… till now.
Fueled by his adventurous spirit and fervent help for marine conservation, English entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson sought to unveil the mysteries of the Nice Blue Gap once and for all.
Yet even with years of adventures and discoveries to his credit score, Branson needed the assistance of one essential individual to really make the expedition worthwhile.
That’s proper: he enlisted the assistance of Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of the very same man that had put the Great Blue Hole on the map virtually 50 years earlier. Together, the two explorers hoped to select up proper the place Jacques had left off.
Extra specifically, the lads needed to use state-of-the-art 3D imaging know-how to create a comprehensive map of the inside of the sinkhole. This would offer never-before-seen perception.
They have been additionally trying to check the water quality and oxygen ranges inside the Nice Blue Hole to get a sense of what sort of aquatic life might survive there.
Moreover, Branson and Cousteau have been adamant about exploring what they believed to be an oxygen-depleted space at the base of the opening. Why the interest in this so-called lifeless zone?
Properly, if their hunch was right, this discovery might hold clues to the autumn of the Mayan civilization between 800 and 1,000 AD! Yeah, who noticed that one coming?
“We’ve heard that in the Blue Hole there is an anoxic area [or dead zone] near the bottom,” stated one of many expedition’s crew members. “This is really interesting because things don’t degrade in anoxic areas so we could find preserved life.”
However whilst visions of this huge undersea adventure danced in their heads, the lads still had one obtrusive challenge to beat earlier than they might even think about venturing under the surface: how would they do it?
Being that the majority humans can’t dive greater than 130 ft without being crushed by water strain, scuba diving was utterly out of the question. They wanted to assume outdoors the box.
Dive Coaching Magazine
Fortunately, they discovered captain Erika Bergman. Aboard her high-tech STINGRAY 500, the group would be capable of dive at depths of up to 500 ft whereas simultaneously capturing HD recordings of your complete adventure.
Explanation for a Variety
And so, on December 2nd, Branson, Cousteau, and Bergman – along with a staff of cinematographers from the Discovery Channel – made the journey to Lighthouse Reef to begin their exploration.
With their stay stream being broadcast to viewers everywhere in the world, the three adventurers submerged in the waters of the Great Blue Gap.
Though the floor of the huge cavern seemed virtually clear blue from above, the depths under have been something however. Darkness met the group head on as they dove deeper and deeper into the opening, unaware of what treasures – or horrors – awaited them at its backside.
Along the best way, a number of fish stored pace alongside the workforce, starting from widespread ocean dwellers to the likes of the exotic Midnight Parrotfish.
But for each unassuming fin or tail that flitted by, they couldn’t help but hold their eyes peeled for the hammerhead and aggressive bull sharks that have been recognized to prowl the world.
When the vessel arrived at the flooring of the cavern the workforce instantly went to work mapping the size of the opening. After solely a jiffy of scanning, nevertheless, Branson and the others observed a strange opening…
Curious, the group approached the opening, and inside they found the actual treasure of the exploration: stalactites! This discovery would’ve meant little if stumbled upon in a typical cave system, however the truth that the discover was made at such a depth underwater was unprecedented.
Discovery / Twitter
In response to checks run on the rock formations, these stalactites have been an astonishing 150,000 years previous. Often, stalactites solely type in dry caves!
That signifies that the Great Blue Gap was as soon as a part of a larger cave system that shaped on dry land. As exceptional as this was, although, this discovery truly factors to a much bigger concern.
With the Great Blue Gap now utterly submerged beneath tons of of ft of water, it’s a clear indication that the gradual warming of the earth is immediately answerable for rising sea ranges. As international warming continues to have an effect on our planet, might this be a sign of things to return?
Richard Branson and his group seem to assume so, and he’s pledged to assist in the effort to guard no less than 30% of world oceans by the yr 2030. With sea life masking over two-thirds of the Earth’s floor, now appears nearly as good a time as ever to ensure that it stays that means.
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