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10 most impressive and largest sinkholes in the world

Swifts in Sótano de las Golondrinas, Mexico
Swifts in Sótano de las Golondrinas Emigdio Hernández, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

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.

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WorldViolet Alphabetical list of 10 most impressive sinkholes


Andros Black Hole

5.2 out of 10 stars 51.8%

Bahamas, South Andros

Depth: 47 m

Volume: ?

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

Cross section of South Andros Black Hole in south - north direction, compared with Boeing 747-400

Crveno Jezero – Red Lake

5.1 out of 10 stars 51.3%

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.

Cross section of Crveno Jezero sinkhole, compared with Boeing 747-400

Dragon Hole

4.6 out of 10 stars 45.5%

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.

Dragon Hole with expedition vessels

El Zacatón sinkhole

5.5 out of 10 stars 54.5%

Mexico, Tamaulipas

Depth: 339 m

Volume: 10 million m³

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

El Zacaton sinkhole, Mexico

Great Blue Hole

5.8 out of 10 stars 58.2%

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.

Great Blue Hole, Belize

Minyé sinkhole and cave

4.7 out of 10 stars 46.8%

Papua New Guinea, East New Britain

Depth: 510 m

Volume: 26 million m³

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

Crossection of Minyé sinkhole, compared with Boeing 747-400, Papua New Guinea

Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel

5.6 out of 10 stars 55.5%

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.

Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel, sinkholes in Venezuela

Sótano de las Golondrinas – Cave of the Swallows

5.5 out of 10 stars 55.1%

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.

Caver rappelling down into the Sótano de las Golondrinas, Mexico

Teiq sinkhole

4.3 out of 10 stars 42.3%

Oman, Dhofar Governorate

Depth: 250 m

Volume: 90 million m³

One of the largest sinkholes in the world with a 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.


Xiaozhai tiankeng

5.3 out of 10 stars 53.3%

China, Chongqing Municipality

Depth: 662 m

Volume: 119.349 million m³

The 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.

World's deepest sinkhole - Xiaozhai tiankeng, with tourist route visible

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Great Caves of the World

Caves are found on every continent. The United States is home to the world’s longest cave system, the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and to the world’s most popular tourist cave, New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns. Great Caves of the World takes readers to these and 25 other astonishing and challenging caves across the globe.

Dynamic Tectonics and Karst

The karstic caves are favorable sites for tectonic events detecting, representing a conservative medium of three-dimensional framework where the tectonic deformations are well preserved. They also provide an environment conducive to dating and determining the geometrical parameters of past seismotectonic events. During the last three decades, the study of dynamic tectonics and recent geodynamics in karst terrains has been a subject of numerous publications, but it has not been systematically approached in a comprehensive monograph.

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