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Florida blue hole mystery wows scientists

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There’s a weird “blue hole” in the ocean floor off the coast of Florida that’s wowing scientists.

It’s about 425 feet deep and is located some 155 feet below the water’s surface, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The site, dubbed the “Green Banana,” has been a hot topic both for scientists and deep-sea explorers, ABC News said. In August, scientists from NOAA and other organizations plan to embark on a mission to explore the hole, which is located some 50 miles southwest of Sarasota. 

The configuration of the hole is somewhat hourglass shaped, which creates challenges for researchers, according to NOAA. 

Overall, little is known about these blue holes “due to their lack of accessibility and unknown distribution and abundance,” NOAA said in a statement.

In fact, the first reports of blue holes decades ago weren’t from scientists or researchers, but from fishermen and recreational divers. Now, the two groups are working together to conduct scientific surveys and exploration of these mysterious holes.

“Blue holes are underwater sinkholes, similar to sinkholes on land,” NOAA theorizes.

There are at least 20 blue holes off Florida’s coast, but nobody knows how many there really are, said Fox13 News in Tampa. 

“They are basically old springs or old sinkholes that formed something like 8,000 to 10,000 years ago,” Emily Hall, a scientist from Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, told Fox13 News. 

They are also diverse biological communities full of marine life, including corals, sponges, mollusks, sea turtles, sharks and more, NOAA reports. 

In addition, NOAA said that “the seawater chemistry in the holes is unique and appears to interact with groundwater. … Scientists are hoping to learn … whether these submersed sinkholes are connected to Florida’s groundwater.”

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/07/23/florida-blue-hole-mystery-wows-scientists/5495805002/

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