Wonder

Dragon Hole

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

WorldBlue  In short

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

4.6 out of 10 stars 46.0%

GPS coordinates
16.5250 N 111.7681 E
Location, address
Asia, China (disputed), Paracel Islands, in shallow bank to the east from Pattle Island, near Discovery Reef
Sinkholes, Geographical extremes
Name in Chinese
三沙永乐龙洞 (Longdong)
Alternate names
Sansha Yongle Blue Hole
Depth
300.89 m

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

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 the 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 oxygen-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.

References
  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.

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