Largest sinkholes of the world
Where are located the largest sinkholes of the world?
The most impressive sinkholes of the world are located in China. These pits are grouped in several locations in Chongqing Municipality, Guangxi, Guizhou, and also Sichuan provinces. Here they are called tiankengs – "heavenly pits". Nature has been generous and offers here to us one of the most amazing sights on Earth – up to 662 m deep (!!!) holes with vertical walls and patches of the unique subtropical forest below. Underground rivers appear at the bottoms of these holes and disappear underground again.
Next largest find of giant sinkholes is Nakanaï Mountains in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. This is a highly unusual landscape with extremely high rainfall (might turn out to be the wettest place on Earth if somebody would measure it), wild jungle, and, possibly, the most impressive karst landscape on Earth.
Third location to explore giant sinkholes is Mexico. Here are two groups of these amazing landmarks:
- Sótanos in Querétaro and San Luis Potosí states – amazing giant shafts;
- Sistema Zacatón in Tamaulipas. This is true wonder of nature – more than 20 karst features, mostly filled with water and formed by volcanicaly heated water. Some of these giant sinkholes have sealed themselves with travertine lids and may hide unknown organisms inside!
Other miracles of nature are the ancient sinkholes on Sarisariñama tepui in Venezuela – Sima Humboldt and Sima Martel. These sinkholes have formed in very resistant sandstone – this process maybe took even hundreds of millions of years! Forest on the bottom of these sinkholes has developed in unusual isolation… especially if we take into account that also Sarisariñama tepui is isolated by steep cliffs!
Do we know all giant sinkholes?
Most of the giant sinkholes listed below are rather recent discoveries. Several of these formations have not been investigated yet. This is really amazing – because these are giant holes, often deeper than the height of Eiffel tower, large enough to be well visible on satellite images!
There is explanation to this:
- Giant sinkholes are located in regions with active karst processes. Such regions tend to be extremely hard to access physically. Nowadays people often think that Earth has been crisscrossed by curious researchers but this is far from the truth – people have avoided regions which are difficult to access;
- Sinkholes often are located in regions with high rainfall and consequently – eternal clouds. Temperature differences in giant sinkholes often create clouds above the sinkholes. Thus they are not visible on satellite images.
So… you want to find unknown giant sinkholes? Wondermondo offers the following destinations to you:
- Khammouan mountains in Laos. Possibly the largest concentration of enormous sinkholes in the world, most are not explored. May hide the largest sinkholes by volume – there are stories about sinkholes up to 230 million m³ large!
- Central part of New Guinea island. It is known that here are located some of the largest sinkholes in the world but few have been visited and even fewer – measured! Mamo Plateau alone contains more than 100 giant collapse dolines – unfortunately most of them without vertical walls. But there are such nearly unexplored sinkholes as the giant Yogoluk sinkhole in the Indonesian part of the island or Himbiraga sinkhole in Papua New Guinea.
- Sangkulirang mountains in East Kalimantan, Indonesia are little explored but they have extremely impressive karst features.
Other articles about sinkholes
Category includes outstanding sinkholes – large natural depressions or holes, which for most part represent collapsed caves.
Most sinkholes are formed by karst processes – by natural solution of carbonate (f.e. limestone, dolomite), sulfide (f.e. gypsum) and salt rocks. Solution process is initiated by water.
Unique list of 10 most impressive sinkholes of the world – deepest, most capacious and most unusual ones.
Used sources of information
- Zhu Xuewen, Chen Weihai. Tiankengs in the karst of China. Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers. The Online Scientific Journal.
- Tony Waltham. Tiankengs of the world, outside China. Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers. The Online Scientific Journal.
and other sources.
Table of the deepest sinkholes of the world
|No||Name||Country, region||Max depth (m)||Volume (million m³)|
|1||Xiaozhai tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||662||119.349|
|2||Dashiwei tiankeng||China, Guangxi||613||75|
|3||Crveno Jezero – Red Lake||Croatia, Split-Dalmatia||530||30|
|4||Minyé sinkhole and cave||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||510||26|
|5||Haolong tiankeng||China, Guangxi||509||110.0|
|6||Kavakuna sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||480||12|
|7||Taipingmiao tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||420||9.9|
|8||Sótano del Barro||Mexico, Querétaro||410||15|
|9||Sima Aonda||Venezuela, Bolívar||383||?|
|10||Xiashiyuan tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||373||31.5|
|11||Daluodang tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||372||10.4|
|12||Sótano de las Golondrinas – Cave of the Swallows||Mexico, San Luis Potosí||372||5|
|13||Tongtian tiankeng||China, Guizhou||370||7.2|
|14||Longgang tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||350||9.2|
|15||El Zacatón sinkhole||Mexico, Tamaulipas||339||10|
|16||Lomes Longmot||Indonesia, West Papua||330||?|
|17||Jiaole tiankeng||China, Guangxi||325||67.0|
|18||Dachang tiankeng||China, Guizhou||320||10.0|
|19||Sima Humboldt||Venezuela, Bolívar||314||21|
|20||Chuandong tiankeng||China, Guangxi||312||11.7|
|21||Baidong tiankeng||China, Guangxi||312||5.8|
|22||Naré sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||310||4.7|
|23||Dragon Hole||South China Sea, Paracel Islands||300.89||?|
|24||Atea doline||Papua New Guinea, Southern Highlands||>300||?|
|25||Kukumbu sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, West New Britain||300||75|
|26||Qingkou tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||295||9.2|
|27||Luoquanyan tiankeng||China, Hubei||290||?|
|28||Datuo tiankeng||China, Guangxi||290||32.7|
|29||Modro Jezero – Blue Lake||Croatia, Split-Dalmatia||290||22|
|30||Xiaokeng tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||286||12|
|31||Shenying tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||285||9.7|
|32||Dengjiatuo tiankeng||China, Guangxi||278||26.2|
|33||Qinlong tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||276||31.7|
|34||Ora sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||275||26|
|35||Lago Azul||Brazil, Goiás||>274||>4.3|
|36||Jiameng tiankeng||China, Guangxi||271||1.6|
|37||Leang Pute||Indonesia, South Sulawesi||270||?|
|38||Shiwangdong tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||252||5.1|
|39||Lusé sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||250||61|
|40||Teiq sinkhole and cave||Oman, Dhofar Governorate||250||90|
|41||Xiaoyanwan tiankeng||China, Sichuan||248||36|
|42||Sima Martel||Venezuela, Bolívar||248||?|
|43||Yogoluk sinkhole||Indonesia, West Papua||240||4|
|44||Bandong tiankeng||China, Guizhou||240||2|
|45||Sendirian sinkhole||Malaysia, Sarawak||240||2|
|46||Shenmu tiankeng||China, Guangxi||234||13.2|
|47||Xiaoshui tiankeng||China, Guizhou||230||2.8|
|48||Chadong tiankeng||China, Guangxi||225||13.3|
|49||Bikbik Vuvu sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||225||1.5|
|50||Dacaokou tiankeng||China, Guizhou||220||25|
|51||Ladong tiankeng||China, Guangxi||215||2.8|
|52||Zhongshiyuan tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||214||34.8|
|53||Tawi Atair sinkhole and cave||Oman, Dhofar Governorate||211||0.975|
|54||Dean’s Blue Hole||Bahamas, Long Island||203||1.1?|
|55||Hoya de las Guaguas||Mexico, San Luis Potosí||202||16|
|56||Nongle sinkhole||China, Guangxi||200||?|
|57||Bajiao tiankeng||China, Guizhou||195||4.0|
|58||Niubizi tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||195||3.5|
|59||Harwood Hole||New Zealand, Tasman Region||183||?|
|60||Sarlacc’s Pit||Canada, British Columbia||183||?|
|61||Xiaocaokou tiankeng||China, Guizhou||180||3.3|
|62||Keek sinkhole||Indonesia, West Papua||180||1.4|
|63||Laowuji tiankeng||China, Guangxi||171||8.3|
|64||Diaojing tiankeng||China, Guangxi||170||12.6|
|65||Peruaçu North sinkhole||Brazil, Minas Gerais||170||10|
|66||Chongtianyan tiankeng||China, Chongqing Municipality||168||7|
|67||Shuijia tiankeng||China, Guangxi||167||2.6|
|68||Velika Dolina||Slovenia, Obalno-kraška||165||3.5|
|69||Huangjing tiankeng||China, Guangxi||161||6.3|
|70||Wunung sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||160||24|
|71||Kuom Tiankeng||Papua New Guinea, West Papua||160||15|
|72||Poipun sinkhole||Papua New Guinea, East New Britain||160||1.7|
|73||Majlis al Jinn||Oman, Ash Sharqiah Region||158.2||>4|
|74||Peruaçu South sinkhole||Brazil, Minas Gerais||150||5|