Among the goals of NOAA’S blue hole research is determining whether the Amberjack Hole should become a protected area.
In a new mission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is going deep underwater. And they aren’t stopping at the seafloor.
In , NOAA will begin exploring a massive blue hole — essentially an underwater sinkhole — off the coast of Florida. Nicknamed “Green Banana,” the blue hole is larger and deeper than nearby blue holes. The new research will help determine the protection status of the area, and whether Florida’s blue holes are home to new species of microbes.
Blue holes take the mysteries of the deep sea even deeper. The massive holes can be hundreds of feet deep, which causes them to appear a darker blue, compared to more shallow surroundings.
NOAA’s Green Banana mission is planned as a follow-up to explorations conducted in 2019. The previous work looked at Amberjack Hole, located about 30 miles west of Sarasota. Green Banana is even larger and deeper: Its rim is 155 feet below sea level, and its bottom extends 425 feet down.
Among the goals of NOAA’S blue hole research is determining whether the Amberjack Hole should become a protected area. A blue hole can be an “oasis in an otherwise barren seafloor,” NOAA . The natural phenomena are biodiversity hotspots teeming with plants and animals, including sea turtles, sharks, corals, mollusks, and sponges.