World’s second-largest blue hole found off the Yucatan Peninsula shores

Photo: Diario de Yucatán

The second largest blue hole in the world is located in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Thursday, March 2, 2023 – According to scientists from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Ecosur), a Public Research Center (CPI) coordinated by the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), the discovery was announced on February 28.

The blue hole is located specifically in the Bay of Chetumal, Quintana Roo, and is called “Taam Ja”’, which in Mayan means “deep water”.

This is Taam Ja’, the world’s second largest blue hole in Quintana Roo

Photo: Por esto

The blue hole of Quintana Roo has a depth of 274 meters and an area of 13,690 square meters. It is surpassed by one of the same types but is located in China, which is 300 meters deep; it is known as the Sansha Yongle.

Also known as a sinkhole, this one located in Chetumal has a circular surface, its sides are steep and it has slopes of at least 80° degrees.
The mouth of the sinkhole has a depth of 4.5 to 5 meters below sea level, and according to the research, the water conditions change with respect to its temperature and sanitation.

It is worth mentioning that although Taam Ja’ is the second largest blue hole in the world, it is the deepest hole within an estuarine system, that is, “a partially enclosed body of water formed when freshwater from rivers and streams flows into the ocean and mixes with saltwater from the sea,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

According to Conacyt, a blue hole is formed due to processes of fracturing, dissolution, and collapse of soils, such as those belonging to the limestone rock platform of the Yucatan Peninsula. They are shallower than marine trenches and help to know what the environment and climate were like thousands of years ago.

They also help to understand “environmental and geological processes, the connectivity of aquifers and the origin of water in hydrogeological systems” in the Mexican region.

The scientists were able to identify the discovery thanks to diving, echo sounding, and CTD profilers (conductivity, temperature, and depth) carried out in 2021.

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