Sometimes, people just wake up to find a massive opening on the ground. It is called a sinkhole, and this can occur anytime and anywhere. It may happen in the blink of an eye or it may progress gradually. It takes some real scientific and engineering terms to even slightly comprehend why it happens.
Here now is a list of the top 10 most amazing sinkholes on earth.
10. Berezniki Sinkhole, Russia
Berezniki is a sinkhole in Russia. The sinkhole measures 80 meters long, 40 meters wide and 200 meters deep. It started in 1986 after a potash mine in the area experienced massive flooding. As the sinkhole further worsens, experts calculate that it could eat up the rail line that connects to the potash mine. They are looking for ways to rectify it, as the mine is the source of 10 percent of the supply of potash in the world.
9. Dead Sea Holes, Israel
The town of Ein Gedi in Israel is home to several thousand sinkholes. At last count, there were already around 3,000 open sinkholes along the coast, with experts believing that there could be twice as more that has not opened up yet. The sinkholes occurred because of the chronic water shortage in the area, exacerbated by a large and growing population. The place has also seen an influx of tourists attracted by the sinkholes, which lead to further water shortage and even more sinkholes, which is what attracted the tourists in the first place. It has become a vicious cycle, and the situation is further worsened by the presence of several chemical factories in the area.
8. Qattara Depression, Egypt
The Qattara Depression in Egypt is the largest natural sinkhole on earth. It measures 50 miles in length and 75 miles in width. It occurred naturally from the winds that blew the salt beds right down to the water table. The sinkhole is so huge that Egyptian authorities are studying ways on how to harness it for electrical purposes. Once they engineer a way for water from the Mediterranean to fall into the Depression, penstocks to be installed can create energy and help produce electricity.
7. Devil’s Sinkhole, Texas, U.S.A.
The Devil’s Sinkhole is located in Edward’s County in Texas. It measures 40 feet by 60 feet and has a sheer drop of over 400 feet. The entire sinkhole is made of limestone and is the natural home of the Mexican Free Tailed Bat. Observers believe that over three million bats live in the place.
6. Guatemala City’s Sinkholes, Guatemala
This central American city actually has not just one, but a couple of scary and amazing sinkholes. The first one occurred in 2007 when a sinkhole appeared because of the corroded sewage system underneath the city’s roads. What residents thought to be an earthquake turned out to be the ground forming a hole. The sinkhole is an almost perfect circle and has a drop equivalent to 30 stories. It killed two people and led to the evacuation of a thousand residents.
Three years later, another one with a depth of 200 feet and width of 60 feet ate up a three-story building in the city. Though the hole was believed to be gradually developing at first, continuous rain sped up the process.
5. Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
The Bimmah Sinkhole occurred naturally in the town of Dibab in Oman. It is located in the middle of Muscat and Sur. The sinkhole, for some reason, has nice and clear blue waters. As a result, residents and authorities have cashed in and turned the place into a swimming park that attracts both local and foreign tourists.
4. Sarisarinama Sinkholes, Venezuela
In a tepui in Venezuela are four wonders that feature sinkholes. The flat-topped mountain is actually more popular because of these. Two of the four, namely the Sima Humboldt and the Sima Martel are huge, with the former measuring 352 meters in width and 314 meters in depth. The two have isolated forest ecosystems covering the bottom. Another sinkhole called the Sima de la Lluvia measures 1.35 kilometers long. It is being used as the basis of research of scientists who are exploring the process of erosion on tepuis.
3. Heavenly Pit, China
The Heavenly Pit sinkhole in China is located in Xiaozhai, Tiankeng in the Chongqing District. It is a double nested sinkhole that measures 662 meters deep, 626 meters long and 537 meters wide, with the upper bowl at 320 meters deep and the lower bowl at 342 meters. The sinkhole certainly did not form overnight, as it gradually occurred over the last 128,000 years. It is arguable the largest sinkhole in the world. It is so big that it is now the site of extreme adventurers who want to go on a BASE jumping trip.
2. Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas
The Bahamas is known as a beach paradise because of its wonderful waters complemented by a generous amount of sunshine and sand. The area is also a mecca for free divers because of a sinkhole known as Dean’s Blue Hole. It is the deepest sinkhole under the sea that is known to men. It goes down to a depth of 203 meters, which is why the entire place is a constant host of the world championship for free diving. It is also probably one of the most beautiful sinkholes on earth. This site is where the free diving record was set at a depth of 92 meters by a man named William Trubridge.
1. Great Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole is an underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. The circular sinkhole measures 300 meters across and 124 meters deep and is in the center of the Lighthouse Reef. It has an unusual feature in that it has stilted stalactites and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which has already been declared as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
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