List of 10 most impressive sinkholes

Sinkholes here have been listed in alphabetic order.

1. Andros Black Hole

Bahamas, South Andros

Cross section of South Andros Black Hole
Cross section of South Andros Black Hole in south - north direction, compared with Boeing 747-400.
Gatis Pāvils, basing on S.Schwabe, R.A.Herbert, 2005, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Black holes are the only formations known in the world where microorganisms have increased the temperature of water - in Andros Black Hole it reaches 40°C. Approximately 300 m wide and up to 47 m deep round karst formation.

2. Crveno Jezero - Red Lake

Croatia, Split-Dalmatia

Crveno Jezero sinkhole
Crveno Jezero sinkhole. User Tieum512, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

One of the largest and most impressive sinkholes in the world - approximately 530 m deep, with nearly vertical walls. Contains 280 - 290 m deep lake with endemic species of fish.

3. Dean's Blue Hole

Bahamas, Long Island

Dean's Blue Hole, Bahamas
Dean's Blue Hole, Bahamas.
Ton Engwirda, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0 Netherlands

The 202-203 m deep Dean's Blue Hole is the deepest known blue hole in sea. It is used in yearly world championship of freedivers and numerous world records are set here.

4. El Zacatón sinkhole

Mexico, Tamaulipas

El Zacaton sinkhole, Mexico
Cross section of El Zacaton sinkhole, compared with Boeing 747-400. Gatis Pāvils, compilation of DEPTX mapping (2007) and M.O.Gary and J.M.Sharp Jr., CC-BY-SA-3.0

The second deepest water filled sinkhole in the world. Total depth of sinkhole is 339 m, lake is 319 m deep. On the surface of lake there are floating several round travertine islands. Lake is formed by volcanically heated acidic groundwater.

5. Great Blue Hole

Belize, Belize District

Great Blue Hole, Belize
Great Blue Hole, Belize.
Chris Alnatt,, public domain.

124 m deep, perfectly round, submerged, deep blue sinkhole in the middle of atoll. At the depth of 40 metres contains numerous stalactites which provide valuable information about the past of Earth climate.

6. Minyé sinkhole and cave

Papua New Guinea, East New Britain

Minye sinkhole, Papua New Guinea
Cross section of Minyé sinkhole.
Gatis Pāvils, basing on T.Waltham, 2006, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Up to 510 m deep, giant sinkhole in equatorial jungle. Below it is crossed by powerful underground river, opening entrances into enormous, at least 5.4 km long cave with some of the largest cave chambers in the world.

7. Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel

Venezuela, Bolívar state

Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel, Venezuela
Sima Humboldt in the middle part of picture and Sima Martel in the far background.
Photo taken in 1992 by Luis Ruiz Berti, public domain.

Some of the oldest and most unique sinkholes in the world. Sima Humboldt is 314 m deep, Sima Martel - 248 m deep, both formed in extremely resistant sandstone over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Bottom of both sinkholes contains patches of unique rainforest with endemic, little explored species.

8. Sótano de las Golondrinas - Cave of the Swallows

Mexico, San Luis Potosí

Caver rappelling down into the Sótano de las Golondrinas
Caver rappelling down into the Sótano de las Golondrinas. User Stubb, Wikimedia Commons, Free Art License

Sinkhole with enormous, 372 m deep entrance hole and characteristic swarms of birds sprialling up the shaft every morning.

9. Teiq sinkhole

Oman, Dhofar Governorate

One of the largest sinkholes in the world with volume of 90 million m³, depth up to 250 m, width 750 - 1000 m. Two perennial streams enter this sinkhole and disappear underground. This giant pit is especially impressive due to high perennial waterfalls falling into it.

10. Xiaozhai tiankeng

China, Chongqing Municipality

Xiaozhai tiankeng, China
Cross section of Xiaozhai tiankeng, compared with Boeing 747-400.
Gatis Pāvils, basing on T.Waltham, 2006, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Largest known sinkhole in the world, up to 662 m deep and 626 m wide pit with vertical walls. On the bottom grows unique forest.

Map of 10 most impressive sinkholes

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The giant sinkholes of Earth belong to the most impressive natural landmarks.

Wondermondo offers unique review of the largest sinkholes of the world - deepest, most capacious and most unusual ones.

Where are located the largest sinkholes of the world?

Most impressive sinkholes of the world are located in China. These pits are grouped in several locations in Chongqing Municipality, Guangxi, Guizhou and also Sichuan provinces. Here they are called tiankengs - "heavenly pits". Nature has been generous and offers here to us one of the most amazing sights on Earth - up to 662 m deep (!!!) holes with vertical walls and patches of unique subtropical forest below. Underground rivers appear at the bottoms of these holes and disappear underground again.

Next largest find of giant sinkholes is Nakanaï Mountains in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. This is highly unusual landscape with extremely high rainfall (might turn out to be the wettest place on Earth if somebody would measure it), wild jungle and, possibly, the most impressive karst landscape on Earth.

Cross section of Hoya de las Guaguas sinkhole, Mexico
Sótano del Barro, Mexico.
Wikimedia Commons, user Aromgom, public domain

Third location to explore giant sinkholes is Mexico. Here are two groups of these amazing landmarks:

True wonder of European nature is the third deepest sinkhole in world - Crveno Jezero in Croatia and some more giant sinkholes in Croatia and Slovenia.

Other miracles of nature are the ancient sinkholes on Sarisariñama tepui in Venezuela - Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel. These sinkholes have formed in very resistant sandstone - this process maybe took even hundreds of millions of years! Forest on the bottom of these sinkholes has developed in unusual isolation... especially if we take into account that also Sarisariñama tepui is isolated by steep cliffs!

Giant sinkholes can be found also in Bahamas, Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Oman - each of them is unique monument of nature.

Do we know all giant sinkholes?

Most of the giant sinkholes listed below are rather recent discoveries. Several of these formations have not been investigated yet. This is really amazing - because these are giant holes, often deeper than the height of Eiffel tower, large enough to be well visible on satellite images!

Ascending from the floor of Majlis al Jinn, Oman
Majlis al Jinn in Oman, ascending towards the Cheryl's Drop. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0

There is explanation to this:

So... you want to find unknown giant sinkholes? Wondermondo offers the following destinations to you:

Remarks and disclaimers to the list of deepest known sinkholes

Below is list of the most impressive sinkholes in the world. When referring to it, please remember:

Deepest known sinkholes of the world

Click on headings to sort the table!

NoNameCountry, regionMax depth (m)Volume (million m³)
1Xiaozhai tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality662119.349
2Dashiwei tiankengChina, Guangxi61375
3Crveno Jezero - Red LakeCroatia, Split-Dalmatia53030
4Minyé sinkhole and cavePapua New Guinea, East New Britain51026
5Haolong tiankengChina, Guangxi509110.0
6Kavakuna sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain48012
7Taipingmiao tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality4209.9
8Sótano del BarroMexico, Querétaro41015
9Xiashiyuan tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality37331.5
10Daluodang tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality37210.4
11Sótano de las Golondrinas - Cave of the SwallowsMexico, San Luis Potosí3725
12Tongtian tiankengChina, Guizhou3707.2
13Longgang tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality3509.2
14El Zacatón sinkholeMexico, Tamaulipas33910
15Lomes LongmotIndonesia, West Papua330?
16Jiaole tiankengChina, Guangxi32567.0
17Dachang tiankengChina, Guizhou32010.0
18Sima HumboldtVenezuela, Bolívar31421
19Chuandong tiankengChina, Guangxi31211.7
20Baidong tiankengChina, Guangxi3125.8
21Naré sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain3104.7
22Atea dolinePapua New Guinea, Southern Highlands>300?
23Kukumbu sinkholePapua New Guinea, West New Britain30075
24Qingkou tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality2959.2
25Datuo tiankengChina, Guangxi29032.7
26Modro Jezero - Blue LakeCroatia, Split-Dalmatia29022
27Xiaokeng tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality28612
28Shenying tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality2859.7
29Dengjiatuo tiankengChina, Guangxi27826.2
30Qinlong tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality27631.7
31Ora sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain27526
32Lago AzulBrazil, Goiás>274>4.3
33Jiameng tiankengChina, Guangxi2711.6
34Leang PuteIndonesia, South Sulawesi270?
35Shiwangdong tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality2525.1
36Lusé sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain25061
37Teiq sinkhole and caveOman, Dhofar Governorate25090
38Xiaoyanwan tiankengChina, Sichuan24836
39Sima MartelVenezuela, Bolívar248?
40Yogoluk sinkholeIndonesia, West Papua2404
41Bandong tiankengChina, Guizhou2402
42Sendirian sinkholeMalaysia, Sarawak2402
43Shenmu tiankengChina, Guangxi23413.2
44Xiaoshui tiankengChina, Guizhou2302.8
45Chadong tiankengChina, Guangxi22513.3
46Bikbik Vuvu sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain2251.5
47Dacaokou tiankengChina, Guizhou22025
48Ladong tiankengChina, Guangxi2152.8
49Zhongshiyuan tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality21434.8
50Tawi Atair sinkhole and caveOman, Dhofar Governorate2110.975
51Dean's Blue HoleBahamas, Long Island2031.1?
52Hoya de las GuaguasMexico, San Luis Potosí20216
53Bajiao tiankengChina, Guizhou1954.0
54Niubizi tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality1953.5
55Harwood HoleNew Zealand, Tasman Region183?
56Xiaocaokou tiankengChina, Guizhou1803.3
57Laowuji tiankengChina, Guangxi1718.3
58Diaojing tiankengChina, Guangxi17012.6
59Peruaçu North sinkholeBrazil, Minas Gerais17010
60Chongtianyan tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality1687
61Shuijia tiankengChina, Guangxi1672.6
62Velika DolinaSlovenia, Obalno-kraška1653.5
63Huangjing tiankengChina, Guangxi1616.3
64Wunung sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain16024
65Poipun sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain1601.7
66Majlis al JinnOman, Ash Sharqiah Region158.2>4
67Peruaçu South sinkholeBrazil, Minas Gerais1505


and other.

Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 18 August 2010 Gatis Pāvils

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