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YOUNGLE BLUE HOLE (YBH)

YOUNGLE BLUE HOLE (YBH)

Why In news ?

  • 8000 years old carbon was found in the world’s deepest blue hole named the Youngle Blue Hole (YBH) located at the coast of Belize.
  • Belize is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America.

What are blue holes?

  • Blue holes are different from Cenotes which are inland voids usually containing fresh graoundwater rather than seawaterBlue holes are roughly circular and  steep-walled depressions.
  • Their water circulation is poor, and they are commonly anoxic below a certain depth; this environment is unfavorable for most sea life, but nonetheless can support large numbers of bacteria
  • The deep blue color is caused by the high transparency of water and bright white carbonate sand.
  • Blue holes formed during past ice ages, when the sea level was as low as 100–120 metres (330–390 ft) lower than at present.At those times, these formations were targets of the same erosion from rain and chemical weathering common in all limestone-rich terrains; this ended once they were submerged at the end of the ice age.Most blue holes contain freshwater and saltwater. The halocline is the point in these blue holes where the freshwater meets the saltwater and where a corrosive reaction takes place that eats away at the rock.

Few interesting facts about YBH

  • The hole is circular in shape and has over 300 meters across and 125 meters deep.
  • It is the world’s largest natural formation of its kind and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef System.
  • Giant stalactites, dripstone sheets, and columns can be found inside the blue hole.
  • The Blue Hole Monument is one of the seven wonders of Belize’s World Heritage site.
  • The Belize Blue Hole is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Well known Blue Holes

  • Dragon hole- South china sea(300.89 meters deep)
  • The great blue hole- Belize (300 meters)
  • Dean’s blue hole- Bahamas (202 meters)
  • Guam
  • The great barrier reef- Australia
  • The red sea- Egypt

Life forms

  • Many different fossils have been discovered such as crocodile and tortoise fossils in blue holes.
  • Important types of bacterial colonies have also been found in blue holes.
  • Due to the conditions of a blue hole, they are forced to live off of sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide, which are toxic to most organisms. These special bacteria have produced many insights into the chemistry and biology of microbial life.

Expeditions

  • Exploring blue holes requires an extremely high level of expertise in the diving field, hence the fact that very few divers have ever attempted it.
  • In 2009, however, a team of scientists set out to study seven of these blue holes in the Bahamas.
  • In 2018, another group of scientists set out to explore The Great Blue Hole of Belize using two submarines of the latest technology. One of the major scientific contributions to result from this expedition was the first 3-dimensional map of its interior
  • The Red Sea Blue Hole located in Egypt is nicknamed the “Divers’ Cemetery” because at least 40 divers have died there.

Significance of YBH

  • YBH have depth of 300 meters and like most blue holes, it is anoxic which means depleted of dissolve oxygen below a certain depth which are not very much favorable for aquatic life.
  • Concentrations of carbon, usually found in deep marine holes like YBH, provides a natural laboratory to study carbon cycling

ALSO READ: https://www.brainyias.com/world-heritage-site/

Environment & Biodiversity

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