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Largest sinkholes of the world

The list of world's deepest known sinkholes

Xiaozhai tiankeng, China
World's deepest sinkhole - Xiaozhai tiankeng, with tourist route visible / Brookqi, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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

  • List includes naturally formed sinkholes known to Wondermondo which are well pronounced (f.e. NOT included gently sloping valleys e.g. mega-dolines) and at least 150 m deep.
  • List includes true sinkholes where the bottom is reached by the sunlight (or bottom would be reached by the sunlight if there would be no lake). It does not include narrow, near vertical caves, f.e. shaped by upcoming springs, like the fantastic Pozzo del Merro. It does not include pits inside the caves.
  • Shown depth of the sinkhole itself, e.g. difference between the highest rim and lowest point at the bottom of sinkhole. This depth does not include the depth of deeper caves linked to the main body of sinkhole.
  • Numbers of volume for most part are very approximate and include the volume of the main body of sinkhole only.

Table of world's deepest known sinkholes

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
9Sima AondaVenezuela, Bolívar383?
10Xiashiyuan tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality37331.5
11Daluodang tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality37210.4
12Sótano de las Golondrinas - Cave of the SwallowsMexico, San Luis Potosí3725
13Tongtian tiankengChina, Guizhou3707.2
14Longgang tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality3509.2
15El Zacatón sinkholeMexico, Tamaulipas33910
16Lomes LongmotIndonesia, West Papua330?
17Jiaole tiankengChina, Guangxi32567.0
18Dachang tiankengChina, Guizhou32010.0
19Sima HumboldtVenezuela, Bolívar31421
20Chuandong tiankengChina, Guangxi31211.7
21Baidong tiankengChina, Guangxi3125.8
22Naré sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain3104.7
23Atea dolinePapua New Guinea, Southern Highlands>300?
24Kukumbu sinkholePapua New Guinea, West New Britain30075
25Qingkou tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality2959.2
26Datuo tiankengChina, Guangxi29032.7
27Modro Jezero - Blue LakeCroatia, Split-Dalmatia29022
28Xiaokeng tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality28612
29Shenying tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality2859.7
30Dengjiatuo tiankengChina, Guangxi27826.2
31Qinlong tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality27631.7
32Ora sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain27526
33Lago AzulBrazil, Goiás>274>4.3
34Jiameng tiankengChina, Guangxi2711.6
35Leang PuteIndonesia, South Sulawesi270?
36Shiwangdong tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality2525.1
37Lusé sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain25061
38Teiq sinkhole and caveOman, Dhofar Governorate25090
39Xiaoyanwan tiankengChina, Sichuan24836
40Sima MartelVenezuela, Bolívar248?
41Yogoluk sinkholeIndonesia, West Papua2404
42Bandong tiankengChina, Guizhou2402
43Sendirian sinkholeMalaysia, Sarawak2402
44Shenmu tiankengChina, Guangxi23413.2
45Xiaoshui tiankengChina, Guizhou2302.8
46Chadong tiankengChina, Guangxi22513.3
47Bikbik Vuvu sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain2251.5
48Dacaokou tiankengChina, Guizhou22025
49Ladong tiankengChina, Guangxi2152.8
50Zhongshiyuan tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality21434.8
51Tawi Atair sinkhole and caveOman, Dhofar Governorate2110.975
52Dean's Blue HoleBahamas, Long Island2031.1?
53Hoya de las GuaguasMexico, San Luis Potosí20216
54Bajiao tiankengChina, Guizhou1954.0
55Niubizi tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality1953.5
56Harwood HoleNew Zealand, Tasman Region183?
57Xiaocaokou tiankengChina, Guizhou1803.3
58Laowuji tiankengChina, Guangxi1718.3
59Diaojing tiankengChina, Guangxi17012.6
60Peruaçu North sinkholeBrazil, Minas Gerais17010
61Chongtianyan tiankengChina, Chongqing Municipality1687
62Shuijia tiankengChina, Guangxi1672.6
63Velika DolinaSlovenia, Obalno-kraška1653.5
64Huangjing tiankengChina, Guangxi1616.3
65Wunung sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain16024
66Poipun sinkholePapua New Guinea, East New Britain1601.7
67Majlis al JinnOman, Ash Sharqiah Region158.2>4
68Peruaçu South sinkholeBrazil, Minas Gerais1505

Sources

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Map of world's deepest sinkholes

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Other articles about sinkholes

Sinkholes

Category includes outstanding sinkholes - large natural depressions or holes, which for most part represent collapsed caves.

Most sinkholes are formed by karst processes - by natural solution of carbonate (f.e. limestone, dolomite), sulphide (f.e. gypsum) and salt rocks. Solution process is initiated by water.

List of described sinkholes

List of sinkholes described in this website.

10 most impressive sinkholes of the world

Unique list of 10 most impressive 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.

Sótano del Barro, Mexico
Sótano del Barro, Mexico. / Aromgom, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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

  • Sótanos in Querétaro and San Luis Potosí states - amazing giant shafts;
  • Sistema Zacatón in Tamaulipas. This is true wonder of nature - more than 20 karst features, mostly filled with water and formed by volcanically heated water. Some of these giant sinkholes have sealed themselves with travertine lids and may hide unknown organisms inside!

A 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:

  • Giant sinkholes are located in regions with active karst processes. Such regions tend to be extremely hard to access physically. Nowadays people often think that Earth has been criscrossed by curious researchers but this is far from the truth - people have avoided regions which are difficult to access;
  • Sinkholes often are located in regions with high rainfall and consequently - eternal clouds. Temperature differences in giant sinkholes often create clouds above the sinkholes. Thus they are not visible on satellite images.

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

  • Khammouan mountains in Laos. Possibly the largest concentration of enormous sinkholes in the world, most are not explored. May hide the largest sinkholes by volume - there are stories about sinkholes up to 230 million m³ large!
  • Central part of New Guinea island. It is known that here are located some of the largest sinkholes in the world but few have been visited and even fewer - measured! Mamo Plateau alone contains more than 100 giant collapse dolines - unfortunately most of them without vertical walls. But there are such nearly unexplored sinkholes as the giant Yogoluk sinkhole in the Indonesian part of the island or Himbiraga sinkhole in Papua New Guinea.
  • Sangkulirang mountains in East Kalimantan, Indonesia are little explored but they have extremely impressive karst features.

Your thoughts?