Top 10 Biggest Sinkholes In The World

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Eight classic Corvettes at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. fell into the Earth in 2014 when a sinkhole formed at the museum. While

dramatic, such sinkholes do occur occasionally around the world. Along with classic cars victims of such sinkholes have included buildings, roads and even people. Sinkholes are holes or natural depressions that form in the Earth’s surface. They may form instantly or gradually over time. Here are the top 10 biggest sinkholes in the world.

 

10. Dead Sea Holes, Israel

Dead Sea Holes, Israel

The Dead Sea is drying up near the Israeli town of Ein Gedi and it’s causing thousands of sinkholes to form. There are at least 3,000 open sinkholes along the coast. This is especially a concern because of the number of tourists who come to the Dead Sea to experience its salty, mineral-rich water. Area mining and diversion of water from the Dead Sea is causing the water’s surface to recede by about three feet each year. As the salt water recedes fresh groundwater dissolves layers of salt left over and causes underground cavities that result in sinkholes. A hole may form without any warning at all. More sinkholes could form in the region, possibly spurred by an increasing population and chemical factories in the area. 

9. Devil’s Hole, Florida

Devil's Hole, Florida

The Devil’s Hole, also known as the Devil’s Toilet Bowl, may be one of the world’s most popular sinkholes even if it isn’t one of the deepest. The sinkhole, located near Hawthorne, is about 200 feet deep and is filled with about 90 feet of water. The land is private property and no trespassing signs are posted, but this hole remains popular with people who like to jump in and swim. 

8. Guatemala City 2007 sinkhole

Guatemala City 2007 sinkhole Biggest Sinkholes In The World

Authorities evacuated about 1,000 people and reported five people died when a 330-foot hole formed in Guatemala City in 2007. The blame’s been placed on a corroded sewage system spreading sewage beneath the surface. Another sinkhole formed in 2010. The sinkhole, which may have been caused by a combination of the sewage system, Tropical Storm Agatha, and an eruption of the Pacaya Volcano, was 100 feet deep. It killed 15 people and swallowed a three-story factory. 

7. Qattara Depression, Egypt

Qattara Depression, Egypt

The Qattara Depression, one of the biggest sinkholes in the world, is the world’s largest natural sinkhole. Fifty miles long and 75 miles wide, sections are as deep as 436 feet. Its massive size drew the attention of Egyptian officials who hope to find a way to harness it somehow to generate electricity by building a hydroelectric project that would compete against the Aswan High Dam. Water would flow into hydro-electric penstocks as electricity would be generated by releasing the water nearly 200 feet below sea level. 

6. Devil’s Sinkhole, Texas

Devil's Sinkhole, Texas

There may be more than 3 million bats in the Devil’s Sinkhole, located in Edward’s County in Texas. The Mexican free-tailed bat is a natural inhabitant of the sinkhole, which is more than 400 feet deep and measures 40 feet by 60 feet. The sinkhole, one of the biggest sinkholes in the world, is located in a national park known as the Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area. Bat tours are among events held at the park. 

5. The Great Blue Hole, Belize

Great Blue Hole, Belize Deep Hole

The Great Blue Hole, located off the coast of Belize, is one of the biggest sinkholes in the world. Located near the center of Lighthouse Reef, it is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. The sinkhole is 406 feet deep and 984 feet across. It stands apart from other sinkholes because it contains stilted stalactites. Legendary diver Jacques Cousteau had proclaimed it one of the top ten sites in the world for scuba diving.  

4. Dean’s Blue Hole, The Bahamas

Dean's Blue Hole, The Bahamas Biggest Sinkholes In The World

Dean’s Blue Hole, located near Long Island, Bahamas, is the world’s deepest known underwater sinkhole with seawater. It’s 663 feet deep with a diameter between 82 and 115 feet. A cavern with a diameter of 330 feet is underneath. American William Trubridge broke a free-diving world record in 2010 when he jumped into this sinkhole and swam 331 feet on a single breath propelling himself with only his feet and hands. 

3. Berezniki Sinkhole, Russia

Berezniki Sinkhole, Russia

Nicknamed “The Grandfather,” the largest sinkhole discovered in the Russian town of Berezniki was 750 feet deep, 340 yards wide, and 430 yards long in 2012. That’s nearly 100 feet deeper than when the sinkhole first formed in 2007. The sinkhole, located near a potash mine, is causing concern because about 10 percent of the world’s potash comes from Berezniki. If the potash is cut off or destroyed, which could happen if the only rail line leading to the mines is destroyed, Canada would be the next likely country to fill the demand. 

2. Harwood Hole, New Zealand

Harwood Hole, New Zealand

Harwood Hole, located in New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park, is one of the biggest sinkholes in the world at 1,171 feet deep. The cave system is the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand and for many years was New Zealand’s deepest explored cave. 

1. The Heavenly Pit, China

The Heavenly Pit, China

The Heavenly Pit sinkhole, also known as Xiaozhai Tiankeng, in the Chongqing area formed over the past 128,000 years. The biggest sinkhole in the world, it’s about 2,172 feet deep, 2,050 feet long and 1,762 feet wide. It is doubly nested with a top hole that is 1,049 feet deep and a bottom hole that is 1,122 feet deep. A ledge lies in between. The Heavenly Pit includes a waterfall at the sinkhole’s mouth during the rainy season. Tourists can view it by walking down a 2,800-step stairway.

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