The small island of Maré in fact is an uprised coral atoll. The movement of tectonic plates rose it above the sea level, exposing the Miocene limestone layers to the tropical climate and the incredible force of hurricanes.

Rain and groundwater has created countless sinkholes and caves on the surface of the island. In satellite images are seen some 50 sinkholes, but the dense bush and forest hides a lot more.

In earlier times sea level was lower than now – 15,000 years ago it was by 100 m lower. Now the lower part of these sinkholes is submerged.

There is fresh rainwater in these sinkholes – although the deepest parts in some of these unusual lakes are slightly saline. Small (and not so small) creatures live in these lakes and most likely many of these small animals – crustaceans and others – are endemic, found only in these caves – although they still are waiting for their discovery.

Many of these sinkholes (just like the similar cenotes in Mexico) are considered to be sacred and permission from local people should be asked before visiting them.

Trou de Bone is one of the best known sinkholes in Maré Island. The entrance part is some 30 m wide. The sinkhole is approximately 40 m deep, with a lake in it. The roots of large banyan trees reach the water, creating a feeling of a lush tropical garden. The sinkhole has a fine echo effect.

Trou de Bone on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 21.4638 S 167.9336 E
Categories: Sinkholes, Lakes and streams
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 2 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Australia and Oceania, Melanesia, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, central – northern part of Maré Island
Depth: 40 m

Landmarks of New Caledonia

Baie des Tortues, New Caledonia
Baie des Tortues / Thomas Cuelho, / CC BY 2.0
New Caledonia does not belong to mainstream tourist destinations but this Pacific island country is a true gem with many unusual landmarks. Most interesting landmarks are unique ecosystems, various karst formations and exciting fossil finds.


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

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