World’s Deepest Blue Hole Discovered

The deepest blue hole on Earth plunges over 400 meters into a narrow bay in the Yucatan Peninsula. And oceanographers haven’t even found the bottom yet.

Taam Ja’ Blue Hole took over the title of the world’s deepest blue hole — an underwater sinkhole — on April 29, a paper in Frontiers in Marine Science announced.

The Mexican scuba divers and researchers studying it and similar formations nearby were astonished.

“These blue holes represented an outstanding revelation, particularly that of the Taam Ja’ Blue Hole (TJBH),” they wrote. “The measurements could not reach the bottom and confirm its position, leaving the depths of TJBH … partially unresolved.”

Submarine labyrinth

For now, Taam Ja’s depth registers at 420m. That’s staggeringly deeper than the runner-up, Dragon Hole in the South China Sea at 300m.


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Taam Ja’ is a limestone karst cave, located in an area where massive caves like it are relatively common. The northern Yucatan Peninsula is home to the Ring of Cenotes Fault — a sinkhole system formed by the Chicxulub meteorite impact 65 million years ago.

Taam Ja’, though, is a system all its own. To plumb its depths, the scuba team dived inside and used a conductivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) profiler. The device measures the physical, chemical, and even biological properties of any water column and transmits the information to the surface. That’s after initial echo sounder mapping indicated a depth of around 274 meters, and left the team unsatisfied.

Echo waves can get scrambled in blue holes, where massive offshoots can branch out in all directions and water density varies massively. The CTD profiler not only provided a more accurate depth estimate but even suggested Taam Ja’ could be linked to other systems via underwater caves.


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A tunnel to Florida?

Astoundingly, the warm water near the bottom of Taam Ja’ could connect with aquifers as far away as Florida, the researchers hypothesized.

It could take a long time to find out. Exploring blue holes is painstaking, and demands a multi-faceted approach. Exploration of Dragon Hole, the former deepest sinkhole, has spanned decades.

a diagram and photo of taam ja' with data

But in the case of Taam Ja’, the payoff could be groundbreaking. The focus is on finding its true depth, but discovery possibilities multiply from there. Its biome, submarine channels to other water bodies, and even its relationship with regional faults and fractures are all targets.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.