One of the features of the unique Aouk Underground River is a giant sinkhole – Kuom Tiankeng.

This giant hole in the Arfak Mountains was formed when the ceiling of a cave above the Aouk Underground River collapsed. This hole is more than 700 m long and some 160 m wide, its walls are some 100 – 160 m high. Area of the sinkhole is approximately 144,000 m2, volume – approximately 15 – 20 million m3.

Its size exceeds 100 m and also the depth exceeds 100 m – thus this sinkhole can be considered to be a true tiankeng.

The bottom of Kuom tiankeng is traversed by the stream of Aouk with a discharge of 50 m3/s. From the east, it receives Beir Aouk passage (some 1,950 m long) with Aouk stream. From the south also comes another powerful spring – most likely another submerged stream. Aouk leaves the Kuom towards the west through the 300 m long Kuom passage.

Nearby are two more giant sinkholes: Hafasu Tiankeng and Keek sinkhole.


  1. Papua 2017 Aouk Underground River – Acheloos Geo Exploring, Petzl. Accessed in 14 January, 2019
  2. Andrea Benassi e Ivan Vicenzi, Papua 2017 Aouk Underground River – Acheloos Geo Exploring, cronache ipogee. Accessed in 16 January, 2019
  3. Il Tiankeng dell’Aouk, Speleologia Casolana. Accessed in 16 January, 2019
  4. Graham Mullan, News: Exploring Large River Caves in West Papua, Darkness Below. Accessed in 16 January, 2019
Kuom Tiankeng on the map
[travelers-map height=320px this_post=true init_maxzoom=9]
Location, GPS coordinates: 0.9519 S 132.3226 E
Categories: Sinkholes
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 3 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Asia, Indonesia, Western New Guinea, southern part of Tambrauw Regency, Aouk Underground River
Depth: approximately 160 m
Volume: 15 – 20 million m³

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Great Blue Hole / Eric Pheterson, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Category includes outstanding sinkholes – large natural depressions or holes, which for most part represent collapsed caves.

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