Earth’s Mysterious and Unbelievable Holes You Need to See
The Guatemala City Sinkhole
Guatemala has big problems with sinkholes that are caused by the country’s numerous volcanos. This is a picture of a sinkhole that opened up on May 30, 2010.
The sinkhole, which took mere seconds to form, is 18 meters (nearly 60 feet) wide and 100 meters (328 feet) deep. It is also in the middle of Guatemala City.
Unfortunately, the sinkhole caused serious damage, including one poor resident’s home being swallowed in addition to a three-story building.
Source: The Great Guatemalan Sinkhole
Thor's Well, America
Thor’s Well, or as some people like to call it, a ‘gate to hell’ is a mysterious sinkhole, which is located in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area along the coast of Oregon. It seems that no matter how much water goes into the hole it can never be filled up.
This ‘drainpipe of the Pacific’ does present unpredictable dangers, but in 2017 only three incidents were reported. The people involved suffered only cuts and bruises after being hit by waves and pushed against sharp volcanic rock.
The Door to Hell, Turkmenistan
This sinkhole, officially known as the Darvaza gas crater, is located in Turkmenistan.
It earned its spooky moniker “the door to Hell” because of the boiling mud and flames found in the large crater, which is 70 meters (230 feet) wide. It is predicted the hole’s flames will be burning for another 50 years.
It is thought the sinkhole was caused by Soviet engineers in 1971 when they hit a gigantic underground gas cavern which in turn collapsed while prepping a drilling operation.
Diavik Diamond Mine, Canada
The Diavik diamond mine is located near Yellowknife in northern Canada. Since it began operations in 2003 Diavik has consistently produced 1,588 kilograms (3,500 pounds) of diamonds yearly.
Diavik is also one of the world’s largest sources of gdiamonds. Over $1.3 billion (CAD) was spent on the infrastructure of the mine, making it the most substantial investment in mining history. The mine can be reached only by plane because of the region’s long and extreme winters.
Harwood Hole, New Zealand
Located in New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park, this sinkhole is 50 meters (164 feet) wide and 357 (1171 feet) deep. Harwood’s entrance is at the top of Takaka Hill, and it is also connected to the Starlight Cave.
Harwood hole is known as the deepest vertical cave in New Zealand. And for all the film lovers out there — an interesting fact is that some scenes from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ were filmed here.
The Great Blue Hole, Belize
From the variety of tropical fish found there to its crystal clear water, Belize’s Great Blue Hole is a fantastic choice for any scuba divers out there.
It is an underwater sinkhole which is 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from Belize City, near the center of Lighthouse Reef. At 300 meters (984 feet) wide and meters (410 feet) deep, the hole is a major tourist attraction. There are organized day trips to the sinkhole and it is easily reachable. It’s a breathtaking natural wonder!
Source: Great Belize Blue Hole
Tian-keng Difeng, China
This sinkhole is one of the deepest of its kind in the world. It is more than 600 meters (1969 feet) deep, 500 meters (1640 feet) wide and is located in Jingzhu Township, China.
It is a naturally forged and beautiful destination that locals call Tian-keng Difeng (the sky hole and Earth cave). Despite its impressive size, the cave was not known to the world outside of China until 1994, when a group from the Royal Geographical Society happened upon it by accident.
IceCube Neutrino Observatory, Antarctica
Antarctica’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory covers 1000 meters (3280 feet) on the surface and its borehole has been drilled down about 1,500 meters (4,920 feet).
What is the role of IceCube? Amongst its tasks is the study of cosmic rays and how these supercharged energy bursts affect the Earth when they collide with it — something they often do. The borehole allows scientists to collect ice samples and study them for neutrinos that originated from the sun or within the Milky Way and are deposited on Earth during these collisions.
The Udachnaya Pipe, Russia
The Udachnaya pipe is the third largest open-pit mine in the world and the largest diamond deposit located in Sakha Republic, Russia. It is 600 meters (1,970 feet) deep.
Meaning ‘lucky’ in Russian, Udachnaya was discovered by geologist Vladimir Shchukin in 1950. It got its name due to the relatively quick discovery of diamonds on the site, two of which were found with the first two prospecting holes drilled.
Son Doong Cave, Vietnam
The Son Doong cave is located in the breathtaking province of Quảng Bình in central Vietnam. It’s so big it has its own eco and weather systems and can easily fit a 40-story building under its massive stone roof.
Despite being nine kilometers (nearly six miles) long and 220 meters (722 meters) high, Son Doong wasn’t discovered until 1991 and even then its remote jungle location was lost again until 2009.
Kola Superdeep Borehole, Russia
The Kola superdeep borehole sinks 12 kilometers (39370 feet) into the ground, giving it the crown for being the deepest hole on the planet created by humans.
The hole was drilled so that the scientists can find out more information about Earth’s crust. Deeper than the bottom of any of the planet’s oceans, amongst the discoveries made were dozens of microscopic fossils and rocks that are 2.7 billion years old.
Lake Berryessa, America
Lake Berryessa is the seventh largest man-made lake in California and has a bellmouth spillway feature that might raise a little chuckle from some people for the nickname it’s been given: The Glory Hole.
The dam that keeps the lake in check has had a relatively easy job over the past ten years due to low water levels caused by dry weather. As a result, this 22-meter-wide (72 foot) concrete funnel never saw water reach its edges for a decade until 2017 when the top of the spillway was once again breached.
The Mount Baldy Sinkholes, America
Mount Baldy is located in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, southeast of Chicago. In 2014, the park was closed due to a number of sinkholes suddenly appearing and disappearing within days or even hours, including one that swallowed a six-year-old boy. Don’t worry — he was rescued.
Some scientists consider them to be dry forms of quicksand. The holes are unstable and deep enough that they can’t be measured and there are still no definitive answers as to what might be causing them.
Sima de las Cottoras, Mexico
The Sima de las Cottoras, or the Sinkhole of the Parrots, is one of the most beautiful tourist attraction in Mexico. As you might have guessed, it’s a nesting place for parrots and other species of birds.
The sinkhole is 140 meters long (459 feet) and 160 meters ( 524 feet) deep. It is also home to other animals like owls, hawks and foxes, but the green parakeet is the reason why this location has become so popular with visitors.
The Cave of Swallows, Mexico
The Cave of Swallows (Sótano de las Golondrinas) in Huehuetlan, Mexico, is the largest cave shaft in the world and the second deepest pit in Mexico. At 580 meters deep at its tallest ledge, there’s room enough to fit the Chrysler Building in it.
Discovered by Randy Sterns, Charles Borland, and T. R. Evans in 1966, the cave’s name is a nod to the tens of thousands of white-collared swifts and green parakeets that live on its walls. The birds exit the cave at the same time, forming concentric circles in the sky before returning to their rock perches.
Red Lake, Croatia
Croatia’s Red Lake is the third largest sinkhole in the world and is located on the Dinaric Alps near the town of Imotski.
The near verticals walls of this karst lake (which form when an underground cave collapses) are 530 meters high (1738 feet) and 500 meters wide (1640 feet). Its name comes thanks to the steep red walls saturated with iron ore that surround it, and the lake itself can be as deep as 290 meters (951 feet) depending on the season.
Source: Crveno Jezero – Red Lake
Barringer Impact Crater, Arizona
The Barringer Crater, also known as the Meteor Crater or Canyon Diablo Crater, is located in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is owned by Daniel Barringer and his family.
The crater itself is bowl-shaped and is 175 meters (574 feet) deep and 45 meters (147 feet) wide. It was formed 50,000 years ago due to a meteor impact (in case that wasn’t evident by its name).
The crater has a significant role in the research of science and the modern disciplines of meteoritics, and is one of the most studied impact craters in the world.
Source: Barringer Impact Crater, Arizona
Terra Ronca Caves, Brazil
Caverna Terra Ronca (rumbling earth) is located in Brazil’s Terra Ronca State Park, which is the home of approximately 200 dolomitic limestone caves bizarrely sculpted by Mother Nature herself.
Only two of these 200 caves is open for visitors to explore. Terra Ronca I and Terra Ronca II both have a small river flowing through them along with stalagmites and stalactites that tower ove the caves’ human visitors.
The Devil's Sinkhole, America
Texas is home to the Devil’s Sinkhole, which is as scary as the name itself because of it being the home to one million Mexican free-tailed bats.
It’s the third deepest sinkhole in the state and has been marked as a National Natural Landmark since 1985. Native Americans considered it to be a sacred passageway underworld gods and it is thought it might have been used as a burial place for the dead. Archaeological evidence shows that in later years the sinkhole saw its share of travelers and cowboys using it for shelter.
Source: The Devil’s Sinkhole
Playa del Amor, Marietas Islands
It’s a locale just west of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and from the air, it doesn’t look like much. Once you scratch below the surface you’ll find a sandy retreat that is steeped in mystery as to just how it got there.
Hidden Beach, as it is often called, is thought by some to have been created by volcanic eruptions. Others think it actually the unintended result of the island being used as a test site for military bombing runs.
Source: Hidden Beach
The Berkeley Pit, America
If being able to get up close and personal with toxic materials is your thing, you might want to consider visiting Montana’s Berkely Pit. During its operational lifespan, over 320 million US tons of ore was mined there.
This now-retired open-pit copper mine is 553 meters (1780 feet) deep and filled to the brim with water overloaded with dangerous levels of iron and other human-harming substances like arsenic, cadmium, zinc and sulfuric acid.
Source: The Berkeley Pit
Mirny Diamond Mine, Russia
The Mirny diamond mine is an open-pit mine located in the Sakha Republic of Eastern Siberia in north-eastern Russia. With its 525-meter-depth (1722 feet), it is thought to be the deepest open-pit mine in the world. The name of the shaft is Mirny (peace), and it was named after the town of Mir.
The mine produces two million diamonds per year. It also employees more than 35.000 people, most of whom are residents of Mir.
Source: Minry Diamond Mine
To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
To Sua ocean trench is not like many other sinkholes; it is not scary and it is not mine. On the contrary, it is one of the most fantastic swimming pools made by nature. Located in Upolo, Samoa, this mesmerizing pool nestled in the middle of a lava field is 30 meters (98 feet) deep and filled with amazing sparkling green seawater.
There is a ladder where you can get safely down to the water, or if you are an adventurer, you can jump in and enjoy the saltwater and the beautiful gardens around the poo.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The Wieliczka salt mine in Poland is an underground city of salt and one of the oldest salt mines in the world. It is also protected by UNESCO.
It was formed in the 13th century and the beauty of the salt mine is known all around the world. The mine has maze-like tunnels, beautiful sculptures, chapels and 2,000 chambers that were created by miners who in the early 19th centur slowly turned the location from an uninviting mine into a spectacle.
Source: Wieliczka Salt Mine
Berzinki Sinkhole, Russia
This Russian sinkhole is a dangerous work in progress, and unfortunately it appears as though there is very little in its way to stop it from growing. It is just one of five such sinkholes to be decimating the city of Berezniki, which is home to a potash mine that might be partially responsible for the creation of the holes.
Since 2015, the sinkhole has tripled in size. It is currently 120 meters (393 feet) wide and 80 meters (262 feet) deep.