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Dragon Hole

Dragon Hole, Paracel Islands
Dragon Hole with expedition vessels / screenshot from The Cosmos News Youtube video

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 16.5250 N 111.7681 E
No:556        (list of all attractions)
Category:Sinkholes, Geographical extremes
Values:Geology, Visual
Address:Asia, China (disputed), Paracel Islands, in shallow bank to the east from Pattle Island, near Discovery Reef
Name in Chinese:三沙永乐龙洞 (Longdong)
Alternate names:Sansha Yongle Blue Hole
Depth:300.89 m

Currently the deepest known underwater sinkhole (blue hole) is Dragon Hole - 300.89 m deep hole in a shallow shoal in Paracel Islands.

This sinkhole has been known to local fishers for centuries. According to local legends this is the eye of the South China Sea and here the Monkey King found his golden mace.

In 2015 - 2016 a team of Chinese researchers (Sansha Ship Course Research Institute for Coral Protection) explored this unusual place, robot "Video Ray Pro 4" reached full depth of the sinkhole.

Upper part of the sinkhole is rich with sea life but at the approximate depth of 100 m starts a layer of oxugen-free water which, most likely, is devoid of life.

Dragon Hole has formed in the massive Miocene deposits of limestone which are more than 1200 m thick (1). It is not quite clear how such a deep underwater sinkhole was created.

Currently (end of 2016) fishing and tourism in this area has been prohibited.


See Dragon Hole on the map of China!


  1. Shiguo Wu, Xinyuan Zhang, Zhen Yang, Tuoyu Wu, Jinwei Gao, and Dawei Wang (2016). Spatial and temporal evolution of Cenozoic carbonate platforms on the continental margins of the South China Sea: Response to opening of the ocean basin. SEG Interpretation, August 2016. doi: 10.1190/INT-2015-0162.1
  2. China Exclusive: South China Sea "blue hole" declared world's deepest. Xinhua, 23 July 2016. Accessed on 22nd December 2016.

Dragon Hole is included in the following list:

Map of largest sinkholes in the world

Largest and most impressive sinkholes of the world

Landmarks of China

Karst landscape at Li River, China
Karst landscape at Li River / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

China has got it all - more than one billion people, large area, great and very long history, very distinct and at the same time - very diverse cultures, great and varied nature.


Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel, sinkholes in Venezuela
Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel, sinkholes in Venezuela / Luis Ruiz Berti, public domain

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

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