Taam Ja – Mexico’s Second-Largest Blue Hole
Blue holes are fascinating underwater formations found in various parts of the world, including the coastal areas of Mexico. These natural wonders are characterized by their deep, dark abysses, which often captivate the curiosity of scientists and explorers alike.
Mexico, in particular, is known for its impressive blue holes.
A group of researchers has discovered Mexico’s second-largest blue hole, which could provide a window into prehistoric life. The cave was initially discovered in 2021 but was documented in a scientific journal this year.
The opening was found in the Bay of Chetumal, Yucatan, and was subsequently inspected and sampled by divers, underwater sonar, and other methods. It spans an area of 44,805.6 square meters with a depth of 274.32 meters.
It was dubbed ‘Taam Ja,’ meaning “deep waters” in Maya.
Thus, Taam Ja “becomes the second deepest blue hole in the world,” after the Dragon Hole in the South China Sea, believed to have a depth of 298,704 meters. It is likely “the deepest known blue hole in the region,” according to scientists.
This blue hole has low oxygen and sunlight only shines on the surface. The crater’s walls protect the water from tides, causing its current to remain completely still as if there is some anomaly in this area.
Known in the scientific community as karst formations, blue holes are underwater caves formed during past glaciations due to the erosion of limestone terrains by rain and chemical weathering.
As sea levels rose over time, water rushed into these depressions and filled them, with some of these depressions becoming submerged. The crater’s walls protect the water from tides, causing its current to remain completely still as if there is some anomaly in this area.
So far, there have been few studies on blue holes due to their inaccessibility to humans. Instead of oxygen, these formations are filled with hydrogen sulfide, making it dangerous for people to enter the abyss without proper equipment.
Despite the inhospitable conditions, blue holes are teeming with life adapted to a low-oxygen environment. This lack of oxygen has the side effect of “perfectly preserving fossils, allowing scientists to identify extinct species.”
The team asserts that the “origin and geological evolution of Taam ja deserve further investigation” in the coming years.