A team of Chinese researchers discovered the deepest blue hole or underwater sinkhole at Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. Named Dragon Hole or Longdong, the blue hole is 300.89 meters deep, beating the previous world record of 202 meters depth.
According to reports, the locals call the deepest blue hole the “eye” of the South China Sea. Legend has it that the weapon golden cudgel used by the hero in the 16th century Chinese literature “Journey to the West” originated from the blue hole.
It was formed when seawater flooded the hole when glaciers melted and sea levels increased after the last ice age. This is also the same process that caused other blue holes in the Bahamas.
According to Liang, head of the Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection, the research team investigated the site from August until June of last year. They determined that the Dragon Hole is more than 300 meters deep and its entrance measures up to 130 meters wide.
They used an underwater robot called VideoRay Pro 4, which was equipped with a sensor that measured depth. The mission was supported by the Sansha City Government in the Chinese island province of Hainan.
The research team also found over 20 fish species and other marine creatures at the upper portion of the blue hole. They add that there is almost no oxygen 100 meters into the sinkhole. This suggests that no living thing resides at this depth.
The previous record holder was Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island in the Bahamas. Before Dragon Hole took its throne, Dean’s Blue Hole was world renowned for being the deepest blue hole in the world.
Meng Wei, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, says that studying blue holes are crucial for marine research as well as developing projects that would benefit the marine environment.
The research team suggests protecting the Dragon Hole. They are also planning to investigate the blue hole further.