Uncharted Waters: Diving into Saudi's beautiful blue holes

Uncharted Waters: Diving into Saudi's beautiful blue holes

Seemingly unending, these blue holes have become sites of discovery for wildlife and maritime experts
04 September 23
Blue Holes: Southern Red Sea, Saudi Arabia

The National Centre for Wildlife revealed that Saudi Arabia is home to more than twenty blue holes.

Blue holes are naturally occurring, large, circular, deep depressions that are usually formed close to a shoreline or an island. Likened to an underwater sinkhole, blue holes are often categorised by their depth and rich blue hues and are usually surrounded by a ring of raised land or loop of coral. The surface of a blue hole gives way to a cavernous puncture in the seabed, made up of rock formations.

Dotted along the coastline of the southern Red Sea, these blue holes although originally discovered in 1888, have only been re-discovered and studied in recent years, and as of now, a total of 9 have been studied and just 3 have been explored in depth.

Marine researchers and scientists have been diving into these blue holes as these underground caverns have a unique biodiversity and array of sea life - a place they have dubbed 'a living laboratory'.

Using submersibles and other research vessels, and through physical exploration such as scuba diving, researchers have been able to study the variation in temperature of the blue holes, the visibility and of course the natural sea life and corals.

The aim is to study these incredible locations, and understand the unique environment and biodiversity of theses areas, in order to properly protect these naturally occurring phenomena.

Despite having an incredible amount of experience, ocean and sea life experts involved in the research of Saudi's blue holes, describe the discovery and exploration of these underwater caves as a 'wonderful surprise'.

Many blue holes lie relatively undiscovered due to their sheer depth, and the equipment that would be needed to properly explore them, making these deep holes some of the most under-studied natural phenomenon in the modern world.

Blue holes can stretch to almost 1km beneath the sea-bed, although the scientists believe that the blue holes found in the southern Red Sea are between 700 - 900 metres below sea level.