When explorers decided to use sonar imaging technology to map out the Great Blue Hole situated near Belize, the last thing they were likely expecting was to find tracks leading across the bottom of it. Along with these mysterious prints, some more easily identifiable tracks belonging to mollusks were also discovered — complete with a sad story to be told.
According to Newsweek, a team of explorers which included billionaire Richard Branson and Fabien Cousteau, who is the grandson of French explorer Jacques Cousteau, set out in November last year to dive to the bottom of the Great Blue Hole and discover what lurked there. Considering the hole is 1,000 feet wide and 410 feet deep, it was no easy feat.
During November and December, the team conducted more than 20 dives into the hole’s murky depths, which was so dark that it was impossible to see very far in front using only the naked eye. However, the team used high-resolution sonar equipment to help create a 3D map of the area.
And thanks to these dives, a greater understanding of the Great Blue Hole has resulted, but not without creating more mysteries.
Submarine pilot Erika Bergman was excited to discover never-before-seen stalactites at the bottom.
“That was pretty exciting because they haven’t been mapped there before. They haven’t been discovered there before.”
What lies within the famous dark blue natural wonder in Belize has been mostly a mystery, until now. ???? https://t.co/UoZLv4R1KA
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) February 26, 2019
In addition to this, the explorers also found a gruesome gravesite belonging to mollusks, according to Live Science. Dubbed the “conch gravesite,” experts believe the remains of hundreds of dead conches ended up there after falling down into the hole and not being able to climb back out. Sad evidence of tiny mollusk tracks and slide marks were discovered by divers. The creatures died after running out of oxygen, Bergman explained in a blog post on her involvement with the expedition.
But, along with the stalactites and mollusk gravesite, some pretty interesting tracks were also located thanks to the sonar imaging.
— Wilson Jacob (@wilsonjmashaka) February 27, 2019
The unidentifiable tracks were found at the very base of the hole, according to Bergman. At the moment, no research has been conducted on these tracks and Bergman considers them to be currently “open to interpretation,” according to CNN Travel. However, this expedition is not the first to have reached the very bottom of the Great Blue Hole’s depths, so the potential of them being made by other people is not as strange as one might think — if these tracks even turn out to have been created by humans.
The Great Blue Sink Hole is, essentially, a limestone cave that was created hundreds of thousands of years ago when sea levels were much lower. The cave became submerged at the end of the last ice age, according to Newsweek. So, once again, for those who are wondering if the tracks belong to humans, the potential is also there that they belonged to people who ventured into the cave prior to its submersion.
“The aptly named Great Blue Hole is a collapsed cave, filled with stalactite caverns, and built up from layers of fine limestone and rougher calcium carbonate walls,” Ms. Bergman explains.
A documentary that further documents the team’s discoveries will be released by INE Entertainment. The planned release date is currently set for some time in spring.