Teach Through Educational Travel: Blue Hole, Belize
One of the most beautiful natural features on earth, the Great Blue Hole is an enormous sinkhole located in the middle of Lighthouse Reef, an atoll that is part of Belize. The Great Blue Hole is almost 1,000 feet in diameter, and over 400 feet deep. Formed over thousands of years (including some new formations, from this century), it is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sharks famously patrol the Great Blue Hole, but you can see a plethora of other marine animals in the area.
- Dive deep (but keep dry) by watching this video of a diver heading to the bottom(!) of the Great Blue Hole. The Great Blue Hole used to be a dry cave system – you can see, in this video, when each of the areas were actually on land. Within the Great Blue Hole, you’ll see mostly coral and limestone features, with very few fish. Take a look at this cross-section diagram of the Great Blue Hole, including geologic features and age estimates. Are you fascinated by geology and ages of rocks?
- The Great Blue Hole is the subject of many photos. Take a look at some – this photo from NASA’s Earth Observatory, this beautiful aerial view from National Geographic, and at Atlas Obscura . Then read some diver descriptions of diving the Great Blue Hole. Have you ever been scuba diving? Would you be interested in diving the Great Blue Hole, or does it seem too dark and barren?
- The area was first explored deeply in 1971-72, by Jacques Cousteau, via his research boat Calypsoand his one-man submarine. Further research has shown that some of the soil within the Great Blue Hole is from Africa! Read this article and then discuss how the winds and tides carry things all around the globe.