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Cherokee Sink

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 30.213 N 84.3044 W
No:236        (list of all attractions)
Category:Sinkholes
Values:Geology
Rank:8
Address:North America, United States, Florida, Wakulla County, in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park 2.5 km south from Wakulla Spring
Depth:33.4 m (total, including the rims above the water)
Cherokee Sink, Florida
Cherokee Sink / Paul Clark, / CC BY 2.0

The beautiful Cherokee sinkhole has been a silent witness of neglect by people, who have used it for swimming and... littered it with garbage. Happily the attitude towards the sinkhole is improving lately.

Cherokee Sink is a rounded jade green pool, 90 by 50 m large, surrounded by 0.5 – 9 m high cliffs. It has steep sides under the water as well and is up to 24.4 m deep. Sinkhole has formed by a collapse of cave chamber and most likely was considerably deeper in the past.

Lake is teeming with life – here live diverse fishes. Deeper sediments contain evidence of extinct animals: a tooth of sabertooth tiger has been found here.

For generations this lake has been a beloved place for swimming. Unfortunately the lake has been used as an enormous waste deposit – on the bottom one can find countless bottles and cans, even motorcycles and home appliances. Next to the sinkhole is a cemetery, established in 1850. In the late 1970s the gravestones from this cemetery were thrown in the sinkhole as well. Bottom is silted and the visibility in the water is poor. Lately it has been prohibited to swim here due to the algal blooms. Also the vegetation around the lake has been degraded by countless trails.

Lake with the surrounding forest was acquired by state in 1999 and added to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. While there is ongoing fundraising for proper cleaning, some divers are gradually cleaning it already.

Groundwater analysis shows that Cherokee Sink is connected to Wakulla Spring and is a part of the longest underwater cave system in United States – the 51.4 km long Wakulla - Leon Sinks cave system. The actual passages have not been found yet and Wakulla – Leon caves are bypassing Cherokee Sink just 100 m from it.

Map

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