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La Pilita sinkhole, Sistema Zacaton

Rising DEPTHX robot out of La Pilita, Mexico. Travertine walls seen
Rising DEPTHX robot out of La Pilita. Travertine walls seen / Marc Airhart, Wikipedia, public domain

WorldBlue  In short

This sinkhole is one of the most interesting features in the unique Sistema Zacatón karst field.

4.1 out of 10 stars 40.8%

GPS coordinates
22.9942 N 98.1588 W
Location, address
North America, Mexico, Tamaulipas, southern part of the state, 12 km north-west from Aldama town
Alternate names
Poza La Pilita
< 120 m

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

La Pilita sinkhole seems to be comparatively small – diameter of waterbody at the surface is just some 20 – 35 m. But this deep blue pool with slightly acidic water is more than 120 meters deep!

Sinkhole in process of closing

At greater depth La Pilita becomes wider – at the depth of 45 m, it is 120 m wide in the north-south direction and 90 m wide in the east-west direction.

It has not always been that – earlier La Pilita has been wide also at the surface level. This is testified by a wide travertine rim around the sinkhole. This plain travertine is covered with a pleasant meadow.

Walls below the water level resemble the formations usually formed by hot mineralized springs. These walls are covered with bright red, pink, and green microbial mats, often hanging down like stalactites.

Water in La Pilita is more than 31° C warm (the warmest of five central cenotes), it contains little dissolved oxygen. There is felt the smell of rotten eggs around this sinkhole.


  1. Marcus Gary, Sistema Zacatón, research homepage. Accessed in the 23rd June 2010

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This category includes outstanding sinkholes – large natural depressions or holes, which for most the part represent collapsed caves.

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