Asia Pacific / Science & Health

World’s deepest ‘blue hole’ reportedly found in South China Sea archipelago

Kyodo

Chinese researchers have found the world’s deepest underwater sinkhole, or blue hole, in the South China Sea, state-run media reported Friday.

Xinhua News Agency said the blue hole is slightly more than 300 meters deep. That surpasses the current record of 202 meters, held by Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahama Islands.

The blue hole, for which no name was given, is reportedly located in the Paracel Islands disputed between China and Vietnam, specifically in the western Crescent Group.

In May, the city government of Sansha, established by China in 2012 to administer the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos as part of Hainan province, reported about exploration of the blue hole on its website and called it “a major geographic scientific discovery.”

The term “blue hole” is typically applied to large, deep pits with water-filled openings that form on islands and lagoons in tropical waters.

Their deep, dark blue color, in sharp contrast to the white or aqua blue waters of shallow banks that surround them, is the result of their great depth, and they may contain deep cave systems.

Exploration of blue holes generally involves cave diving to great depths and is extremely dangerous.