There are myriads of things to explore in the deep blue of the world’s oceans. And yet, some areas are so deep that scientists have yet to fully explore because their equipment simply cannot reach that far. According to the National Ocean Service, we have explored less than five percent of the ocean to date. Here at Oyster Diving, we have a passion for all things diving and underwater exploration. There is so much to explore and, over the years, there have been thousands of treasures and unusual discoveries uncovered by divers. Many discoveries, as we know from our diving experiences, are sea life and colourful creatures which is always wonderful to see but divers have also uncovered some of the most shocking discoveries lurking in the deep. Read on to find out some of the world’s most incredible diving discoveries.
Historically, Indians grew up hearing stories about great temples that used to exist in Mahabalipuram. The story was that there used to be seven magnificent temples, so magnificent that the gods became jealous and had six of them swallowed by the sea so that only one remained. Historians and many others simply dismissed the stories as local legend, certain that the one temple on the land was the only of its kind.
However, during the famous Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, the water receded by an incredible 500 metres and uncovered the legendary temples and exposing them for the first time in centuries. In this case, it turns out the legends were true…
In 1967, Nicholas Flemming discovered something rather strange in Greece when he was out diving. Initially, it looked like several buildings rather than just a single structure. But, as he gained help from a team of archaeologist students from Cambridge University, his discovery was mapped out and it turned out to be an entire city. The expanse of city included buildings, roads and even tombs. A total of at least 15 buildings have been found, including some as recently as 2009. The city has been dated all the way back to 2800 BC, with some items coming from the Bronze Age. Although the name of the ancient city remains unknown, it has been named Pavlopetri after the nearby island where the discovery was made.
Sink holes are terrifying. For those of you who don’t know, sink holes are massive holes that open in the Earth without warning. They can be as small as a car or they can span for hundreds of acres and be over 600 metres deep. Sinkholes are unstoppable, deadly and entirely unpredictable. But, who knew sinkholes also existed in the ocean?
The Great Blue Hole is one of the largest ocean sinkholes and is located off the coast of Belize. Scientists have estimated that this sinkhole was formed some 153,000 years ago when an ancient cave system collapsed. The extreme width of this sinkhole, over 300 metres across, makes it the widest ocean sinkhole in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this sinkhole is classified as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
Underneath China’s Lake, 130 feet below the surface, is China’s real-life Atlantis. The so-called Lion City, once the centre of politics and economics in the province of Zhejiang, took the plunge when it was no longer needed. In 1959, the Chinese government decided the country required a new hydroelectric power station and so they built a man-made lake and erected a dam that they used to slowly fill the city with water until it was completely submerged by, the now-referred-to, Qiandao Lake. The beautiful maze of white temples, memorial arches and houses of Lion-City remain submerged in this lake and will likely remain there for divers to re-discover in hundreds of years’ time and perhaps even write an article about…For more incredible underwater cityscapes, check out our article.
A Mythical City
Buried under a layer of sand for over a millennium, is the city of Hercaleion. For centuries, the city was thought to be nothing more than an old legend, a city of extraordinary wealth and visited by people such as Helen of Tory but apparently buried under the sea. It wasn’t until the city was discovered by Dr Franck Goddio over 1,000 years later that the legends were found to be true.
Scientists are still unsure about what caused the city to slip into the sea but it is thought to be a combination of unstable sediment that the city was built on and a gradual rise in sea levels over the years. Over time, the sunken city faded from memory and its existence was lost and forgotten.
Since being found in 2000, massive statues and historical artefacts have been raised from the site and some 64 shipwrecks have been found in the region, along with 700 anchors – backing the assumption that the city was a bustling trade hub and a major commerce stop for ships from Greece and Egypt.
Fossils in Madagascar
The depths of our oceans are also home to a number of prehistoric underwater graves. In Madagascar, these prehistoric graves have been discovered by divers and contain the fossils of giant animals that once dominated the island. Among these giant fossils were the remains of an extinct species of lemur that weighed as much as 15 times its modern-day relatives. Bird remains were found the size of basketball players and enormous tortoise remains were also discovered.
Three sunken caves in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park yielded an enormous amount of bones that helped scientists and archaeologists understand thousands of years of Madagascar’s fascinating history. The theory behind the bones being found in the caves is that the animals sought shelter there when they were scared away by the arrival of humans. Many species are thought to have hidden themselves to avoid hunters, but sadly the majority were killed off.
Here at Oyster Diving, the thought of going on a diving expedition and coming across discoveries as incredible as those mentioned above fills us with excitement! Have you come across any incredible underwater discoveries on your diving adventures? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!