Scientists in the Bahamas are exploring subterranean waterways, accessible only through “blue holes” at the surface. Their mission: to search for clues to the islands’ development over thousands of years.
Blue holes are sinkholes formed by erosion. And lacking any oxygen in their interiors, they preserve whatever bodies fall into them and die. Brian Kakuk, a diver for the Bahamas Research Foundation, explains:
“Blue holes are literally time capsules and they hold this history that we didn’t even know existed here. We’re finding animals that we didn’t know lived here and those animals are indicators of environments that we didn’t know existed.”
The researchers also found perfectly preserved fossils in the caverns, but say they have only scratched the surface.
Limiting factors, however, such as the presence of dangerous gases in the passageways, mean that only 10% of the 1,000-plus “blue holes” have been explored so far.