10 most impressive and largest sinkholes in the world

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Great Blue Hole, Belize
Great Blue Hole, Belize / U.S. Geological Survey, public domain.

List of 10 most impressive and largest sinkholes

The giant sinkholes of Earth belong to the most impressive natural landmarks.

Wondermondo offers a unique list of 10 largest sinkholes of the world – deepest, most capacious and most unusual ones. Sinkholes are listed in alphabetic order.

1. Andros Black Hole

Cross section of South Andros Black Hole in south - north direction, compared with Boeing 747-400
Cross section of South Andros Black Hole in south – north direction, compared with Boeing 747-400 / Gatis Pāvils, basing on S.Schwabe, R.A.Herbert, 2005, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Location: Bahamas, South Andros
Depth: 47 m
Volume: ?

Black holes are the only formations known in the world where microorganisms have increased the temperature of water – in Andros Black Hole it reaches 40°C. Approximately 300 m wide and up to 47 m deep round karst formation.

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2. Crveno Jezero – Red Lake

Crveno Jezero sinkhole, lake
Crveno Jezero sinkhole, lake / Rootmaker, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-sa 3.0
Location: Croatia, Split-Dalmatia
Depth: 530 m
Volume: 30 million m³

One of the most impressive and largest sinkholes in the world with nearly vertical walls. Contains 280 – 290 m deep lake with endemic species of fish.

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3. Dragon Hole

Dragon Hole with expedition vessels
Dragon Hole with expedition vessels / screenshot from The Cosmos News Youtube video
Location: South China Sea, Paracel Islands
Depth: 300.89 m
Volume: ?

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

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4. El Zacatón sinkhole

El Zacaton sinkhole, Mexico
El Zacaton sinkhole / Gatis Pāvils, compilation of DEPTX mapping (2007) and M.O.Gary and J.M.Sharp Jr., CC-BY-SA-3.0
Location: Mexico, Tamaulipas
Depth: 339 m
Volume: 10 million m³

The second deepest water filled sinkhole in the world. Total depth of sinkhole is 339 m, lake is 319 m deep. On the surface of lake there are floating several round travertine islands. Lake is formed by volcanically heated acidic groundwater.

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5. Great Blue Hole

Great Blue Hole, Belize
Great Blue Hole / Eric Pheterson, / CC BY 2.0
Location: Belize, Belize District
Depth: 124 m
Volume: ?

124 m deep, perfectly round, submerged, deep blue sinkhole in the middle of atoll. At the depth of 40 meters contains numerous stalactites which provide valuable information about the past of Earth climate.

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6. Minyé sinkhole and cave

Crossection of Minyé sinkhole, compared with Boeing 747-400, Papua New Guinea
Crossection of Minyé sinkhole, compared with Boeing 747-400 / Gatis Pāvils, basing on T.Waltham, 2006, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Location: Papua New Guinea, East New Britain
Depth: 510 m
Volume: 26 million m³

Giant sinkhole in equatorial jungle. Below it is crossed by powerful underground river, opening entrances into enormous, at least 5.4 km long cave with some of the largest cave chambers in the world.

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7. Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel

Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel, sinkholes in Venezuela
Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel, sinkholes in Venezuela / Luis Ruiz Berti, public domain
Location: Venezuela, Bolívar state
Depth: 314 m and 248 m
Volume: 21 million m³ (Sima Humboldt)

Some of the oldest and most unique sinkholes in the world. Both sinkholes have formed in extremely resistant sandstone over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Bottom of sinkholes contains patches of unique rainforest with endemic, little explored species.

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8. Sótano de las Golondrinas – Cave of the Swallows

Caver rappelling down into the Sótano de las Golondrinas, Mexico
Caver rappelling down into the Sótano de las Golondrinas / Stubb, Wikimedia Commons, Free Art License
Location: Mexico, San Luis Potosí
Depth: 372 m
Volume: 5 million m³

Sinkhole with enormous, 372 m deep entrance hole and characteristic swarms of birds spiralling up the shaft every morning.

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9. Teiq sinkhole

Location: Oman, Dhofar Governorate
Depth: 250 m
Volume: 90 million m³

One of the largest sinkholes in the world with volume of 90 million m³, width 750 – 1000 m. Two perennial streams enter this sinkhole and disappear underground. This giant pit is especially impressive due to high perennial waterfalls falling into it.

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10. Xiaozhai tiankeng

World's deepest sinkhole - Xiaozhai tiankeng, with tourist route visible
World’s deepest sinkhole – Xiaozhai tiankeng, with tourist route visible / Brookqi, Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Location: China, Chongqing Municipality
Depth: 662 m
Volume: 119.349 million m³

Largest known sinkhole in the world, up to 662 m deep and 626 m wide pit with vertical walls. On the bottom grows unique forest.

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Map of 10 most impressive and largest sinkholes in the world

loading map - please wait...

Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel: 4.685500, -64.218500
Sotano de las Golondrinas - Cave of the Swallows: 21.599802, -99.098847
Great Blue Hole: 17.316042, -87.535071
Minye sinkhole and cave: -5.243216, 151.504861
Xiaozhai tiankeng: 30.750537, 109.470140
Teiq sinkhole and cave: 17.155234, 54.627210
Dragon Hole: 16.525000, 111.768072
El Zacaton sinkhole: 22.993019, -98.165760
Black Hole of Andros: 23.975677, -77.702122
Crveno Jezero - Red Lake: 43.454400, 17.199146

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