In an almost movie-like realization, the team understood that they were not diving into a hole in the ocean but climbing down what was once a series of mountains. For Richard Branson, this was the strongest evidence he had ever seen of the dangers that climate change poses. To him, this was “One of the starkest reminders of the danger of climate change” and should be televised and explained for the entire world to notice. This large hole was caused at the end of an ice age by a melting series of icebergs of magnitudes that are virtually unimaginable in today’s perception.
This entire area was once a large piece of land and was completely swamped by the rising sea levels in the Caribbean. Luckily, history, geography, and biology always leave traces, which allowed the team to easily figure out which rocks were underwater in the past and which ones were not. Right at the 300-foot depth mark, the team noticed a considerable shift in the color and kind of rocks they were looking at. This was a clear sign for them that anything below that point was underwater for a much longer time.
In an epic start to the journey, the team of Richard Branson, Fabien Cousteau, and their trusty pilot, Erika Bergman, entered their submarine and started descending. Audiences could see the submarine as it slowly went down into the giant dark blue hole. As if the event wasn't entertaining enough, the three brilliant explorers were cracking jokes and making observations every step of the way. Their aquatic submarine was top of the line and gave an almost 360-degree view into the action.
The team kept descending for about 10 minutes inside their submarine until they began to get close to the walls of the blue hole. To many, this vista looked like the result of a giant bomb or asteroid, one that blew a 400-foot hole right inside the ocean. At first, it appeared to the experienced team that the formations of this hole were steep and mechanic. As they kept descending into the depths, Branson, Cousteau, and Bergman soon found out that they were in a completely different location than they had ever expected.
Weird Cave Configurations
When the team began reaching the bottom of the Great Blue Hole, they began finding strange formations inside its caves. Something about the geology didn’t look right, and they had a strong suspicion that it was once above the surface. The vegetation and stalactites of the caves had pointed clearly to it not being underwater at one point. The two experts clearly identified that many of the structures that they found were created on dry land. This was completely baffling to the team — how could a cave that is more than 400 feet deep once have been above water?
There was only one possible culprit in Branson’s eyes. It was the same force that he had been fighting for many years now and spent billions to alleviate. Fabien Cousteau and Erika Bergman also knew what the most likely cause of this unexpected phenomenon was. For them, it could only spell a horrible sign of things that may come again in the future. So how does a cave that is found tens of miles away from any land possibly go from being above ground to more than 400 feet beneath the ocean? Branson was about to reveal the answer.
Historical Evidence in the Cave’s Walls
Even before the three brave explorers went on a mission, another team of researchers had already done some investigating of their own. What these experts found was the potential answer to a huge historical mystery and would help explain the incredible findings of Sir Richard Branson, Erika Bergman, and Fabien Cousteau many years later. The earlier team of explorers consisted of researchers from Louisiana State University and Rice University. They were tasked with trying to figure out what chemical compositions could be found in the walls of the Great Blue Hole.
You see, many thousands of years ago, there was a civilization in Belize that went extinct for unknown reasons. The team believed that there was a relationship between their disappearance and the Great Blue Hole. They were looking for geological evidence to provide a correlation between the two phenomena. The Great Blue Hole could be traced back to about 1000 CE, which coincided with the decline of the Belizean civilizations there. These researchers happened to discover exactly what they were looking for.
An Entire Civilization, Gone
The Mayans were the original inhabitants of Belize and its surrounding areas. They lived and thrived for many years but mysteriously began disappearing and immigrating away from their homes. For many years, archaeologists, historians, and scientists couldn’t explain why. Some believed that it had something to do with war, while others blamed the phenomena on overpopulation. While these explanations made sense at the time, recent discoveries proved that they could not be true. One possible answer was that the Great Blue Hole might have played a part in it.
Samples gathered from the walls of the Great Blue Hole initially surprised the researchers. They found out that there were extremely low levels of titanium and aluminum on these rocks. These two elements are usually found on rocks after tropical storms. What this meant was that the Mayans could have been wiped out due to a terrible drought that lasted many centuries. They had millions of mouths to feed, and drought was just a reason for them to immigrate. Despite the magnitude of this discovery, what researchers found at the bottom was of even greater importance.