To witness some of the most awe-inspiring sites around the world, you have to look down. Sinkholes are a chilling phenomena that occur all around the world…when you least expect them to. Usually with no warning, the ground suddenly shifts and caves in beneath roads, homes, or sometimes in the middle of the jungle where no one notices, until a plane flies over. Some of these gapers have been since repaired, and some have endured for millennia. Some are even embraced as recreational opportunities!
In 2010, when Tropical Storm Agatha swept through the area with heavy winds and rains, Guatemala City was left with a massive sinkhole. At least 65 feet across and 100 feet deep, this perfectly circular abyss sucked down part of a downtown building, telephone poles and the street!
At 400 feet deep, this dramatic sinkhole in Texas is thought to have been of great spiritual importance to Native Americans. Now it is a registered National Natural Landmark. The free tailed bats that roost within put on quite a spectacle every evening at dusk, which draws many visitors to the 20 meter wide opening.
Venezuelaâ€™s Sarisarinama tepui plateau is unique as it hosts one of the worldâ€™s largest sinkholes at its summit. Over 350 meters in diameter and 350 meters deep, the bottom of this perfectly round hole is home to distinct plant and animal life. Neighboring Sima Martel is equally impressive, and both holes were discovered in 1961 by a pilot flying over.
Dubbed â€śthe expanding sinkhole,â€ť this behemoth in the ground opened up in 2007. Caused by flooding in the below ground potash mines of the area, it gaped to almost 400 meters by 300 meters in width, with a depth of about 200 meters. Luckily it has stopped its growth enough to spare the railway station that transports the mined potash around the world.
The locals near this sinkhole in Oman have cashed in on their geologic phenomenon. Their â€śSinkhole Parkâ€ť is known as a great swimming hole! Both fresh and salt water filter into the base of this 40 meter mouth, creating a unique aquamarine shade of blue.
There are steps built into the caved in side of the hole where visitors can jump in.
Near Imotski, Croatia, the Red Lake sits at the bottom of an impressive sinkhole. The holeâ€™s stark cliffs are more than 241 meters above water level, and oxidation has created the reddish hue that gives the site its name. It has been estimated the hole reaches a total of 530 meters down.
Cave of Swallows
San Luis Potosi, Mexico boasts the largest cave shaft in the world, the entrance to the massive sink hole locally known as Sotano de las Golondrinas. 372 meters deep and 305 meters across, this spot draws adventure sportsmen from all corners of the earth. Rappelling, BASE jumping and even hot air ballooning have all been attempted within the cave.
On an average day in 1981, the earth started falling away beneath a public swimming hole in Winter Park, Florida. Throughout the course of the day, the sinkhole gaped to almost 100 meters across and 30 meters across, eating up part of a car dealership, a few homes and most of Denning Drive. Today you can see what remains of the catastrophe in the form of Lake Rose, a manmade pond left in its place.
In Mount Gambier, Australia, sinkholes are the norm. There are bright blue crater lakes, diving spots into underground caves, and the singular Umpherston sinkhole. This huge depression was put to unique use in 1886 with the planting of formal gardens at the base. The vertical walls of this pit are lushly swathed with vines and flora and you may even see a curious possum or two at twilight.
This is the biggest sinkhole on earth. At 662 meters deep with almost vertical walls, it is a truly dramatic sight. Found in the Chonqing Municipality of China, it gapes almost 630 meters across and hosts a lush forest within its depths. It is said to have formed within the last 100,000 years or so.
Scout out these notorious sinkholes from the comfort of your luxury hotel in Croatia, Florida or anywhere else your adventures take you!