While I'm a proponent of the pursuit of knowledge, there are certain things that may be better left untouched. Among these are ancient Egyptian tombs, black holes, and ominous oceanic caverns that descend deep into the abyss.
Upon reflection, I ask myself if the lessons we learn from potentially horrific discoveries are really worth the risk. Typically, my answer is no.
However, an expedition into Belize's Great Blue Hole has proven that sometimes the disturbing revelations that await us can be worth the effort.
The Great Blue Hole, an enormous underwater sinkhole located approximately 60 miles off the coast of Belize, plunges more than 400 feet into the ocean.
For a considerable length of time, divers were unable to fully explore the depths of the hole, lacking the necessary equipment to do so. This changed with the advent of new technologies, as well as the interest of billionaire Richard Branson, who embarked on an expedition to the hole.
During this expedition, diver Fabien Cousteau captured high-quality footage and images of the enigmatic mysteries hidden beneath the surface.
Unfortunately, what they found at the bottom of this beautiful, mysterious oceanic formation is a partial reflection of humanity as we know it.
At the bottom of the Great Blue Hole, the team made some unfortunate discoveries. Amongst the beauty and mystery of the hole lay some discarded items, such as a two-liter plastic bottle and a long-forgotten GoPro containing photos from someone's holiday.
However, the most disturbing discoveries were the two bodies of divers who had gone missing in the deep cavern. Despite the unnerving sight, the team decided to leave the bodies undisturbed, considering the hole a fitting final resting place.
The team made sure to inform the Belizean government about the discovery of the divers' bodies.
The discoveries continued to surprise the crew as they explored deeper into the hole using a submersible vehicle. They came across a network of large underwater caves adorned with hanging stalactites, a phenomenon previously thought to be impossible underwater.
This finding led scientists to believe that the caves, located at great depths in the ocean, were once above sea level.
In a post on Virgin.com, Branson emphasized the disturbing implications of this discovery for the state of the planet, stating that "The Blue Hole is made of a complex system of caves that once formed on dry land. It is proof of how oceans can rise quickly and catastrophically."
"Sea levels were once hundreds of feet lower. 10,000 years ago the sea level rose by about 300 feet when a lot of ice melted around the world. At 300 feet down you could see the change in the rock where it used to be land and turned into sea," he continued.
Branson stated that the sight was one of the most vivid reminders he has ever seen of the dangers posed by climate change.