15 Strangest Holes On Earth
From terrifying home-swallowing sinkholes to picturesque natural caverns, we count fifteen awe-inspiring planetary cavities!
15 – Great Blue Hole,
- An underwater sinkhole located 60 miles off the coast of Belize. The hole is 300 metres across and 125 metres deep, and is found in the centre of the Lighthouse Reef.
- The Great Blue Hole formed as a limestone cave during the last ice age. It’s believed to have been created by a sea level increase.
- It has unusual stilted stalactites and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
- Its circular shape makes it popular among tourists. Scuba divers frequent this reef because of the rare animal species that reside there.
14 – Udachnaya Pipe,
- The Udachnaya Pipe is a diamond mine in Russia. It was discovered on June 15, 1955, just two days after the discovery of the diamond pipe Mir.
- It is over 600 metres deep and is considered the third deepest open-pit mine in the world.
- The mine had estimated reserves of 225.8 million carats of diamonds and an annual production capacity of 10.4 million carats.
- The mine was controlled by Russian diamond company Alrosa until its operations were ceased in 2010 in favour of underground mining.
13 – German Superdeep Hole,
- Germany’s famous superdeep hole was the result of the German Continental Deep Drilling Program, one of the most ambitious geoscientific projects ever.
- The project’s goal was to grant scientists the opportunity to study the earth’s crust, the effects of stress on layers of rock and observe any abnormalities along the way.
- The $350 million project, which concluded in 1994, left Windischeschenbach, Germany with a hole 9,100 metres (30,000 ft) deep and as hot as 265 degrees Celsius (509 °F).
- The project was also notable for Dutch artist Lotte Geeven’s involvement. Geeven wanted to know what the planet sounded like, so arranged to have a geophone lowered into the hole to record ultrasonic waves. She translated the data through a computer program to discover the sounds of the earth, which she likened to a distant thunderstorm. The sound eerily resembles a heartbeat.
12 – The Deluxe Mystery Hole,
- The Deluxe Mystery Hole is a backyard attraction off Oregon’s I-205 freeway. According to the owner and promoter, it’s the most amazing archaeological site in the state.
- The Mystery Hole’s depth has never been accurately determined by modern scientific methods, but the consensus is it is very deep. Some speculate it was dug by primitive people; others think it is a mark of extraterrestrial visitors.
- The hole’s owner – Pastor Barron, leader of the Tunnel People and head of the Universal Church O’ Fun – alleges that the hole is 5,000 years old, but says that with aliens you can never really be sure.
- Going into the Mystery Hole will expose you to the Enchanting Vapours of Encouragement™, which is said to cure any illness and bring great financial and romantic fortune. However, a disclaimer informs hopefuls that these vapours won’t actually do anything.
11 – The Devil’s Sinkhole,
- Edwards County, Texas is the home of The Devil’s Sinkhole, a massive underground limestone chamber with an opening 15 metres wide and a cavern 106 metres deep.
- Visitors are not allowed in this cavern, but, during the summer months, more than three million Mexican free-tail bats can be seen flying from the Sinkhole’s entrance every night.
- The sinkhole has mysterious origins. Before it was a protected site, this cave was raided by treasure-seekers and artefact-hunters. Dart tips and arrowheads have been found there dating back as early as 4000 B.C.
10 – Guatemala Sinkholes,
- In 2007, a 300-foot-deep sinkhole swallowed a dozen homes in Guatemala, killing two and causing thousands of residents to evacuate. The sinkhole was caused by heavy rain and a corroded underground sewage system.
- What residents thought was an earthquake was actually the formation of a massive sinkhole. The hole is an almost perfect circle and has a drop equivalent to 30 stories.
- Three years later, another hole, 200 feet deep and 60 feet wide, consumed a three-story building in the city. The hole had been developing gradually, but the torrential rain and mudslides during Tropical Storm Agatha sped up the process.
9 – Dead Sea Holes,
- The Israeli town of Ein Gedi has over 3,000 open sinkholes along its coast. Experts believe there are twice as many more that have yet to open up.
- The Dead Sea is drying up at a rate of 1 metre per year, causing sinkholes.
- The sinkholes occurred because of the chronic water shortage in the area, an issue compounded in recent years by a large and growing population. The sinkholes attract many tourists, which leads to further water shortage and even more sinkholes. The situation is further exacerbated by the presence of several chemical factories in the area.
8 – Mirny Diamond Mine,
- The Mirny Diamond Mine was the first developed and largest diamond mine in the Soviet Union. It’s 525 metres deep and has a top diameter of 1,200 metres.
- The airspace above the mine was relegated a no-fly zone after incidents where helicopters were sucked in by a downward air flow.
- The diamond-bearing deposits were discovered on June 13, 1955 by Soviet geologists during the largest Amakinsky Expedition. During this expedition, traces of the volcanic rock Kimberlite were found.
- The mine’s surface operation lasted 44 years before closing in June 2001.
7 – Siberian Holes,
- Three holes were recently discovered in Siberia. The first, estimated to be 50–100 metres across, has been found to have a lake at the bottom of it; the second hole, miles from the first on a peninsula lovingly referred to as ‘The End of the World’, is only about 15 metres wide; and the third hole, which was accidentally discovered by reindeer herders, is a near-perfect cone-shaped hole about 4 metres wide and 60–100 metres deep.
- The ring of dirt and debris around each hole indicates these massive holes were created by a force that stemmed from inside the Earth and exploded outward. Theories for the cause of these explosions include stray missiles, gas-related mishaps, pranks and, of course, extra terrestrial interference.
- One major working theory suggests the holes are a kind of reverse sinkhole that has yet to be scientifically documented. Instead of collapsing in on themselves, it’s thought the holes were initiated by underground fissures that caused the melting of permafrost. The holes then filled with natural gas and, when the pressure became too great, dirt and debris erupted outwards.
6 – Harwood Hole,
- Harwood Hole, located in New Zealand’s Abel Tasman National Park, is one of several important cave systems in Takaka Hill, between the Tasman and Golden Bays.
- A 50-metre-round sinkhole entrance, it descends 183 metres vertically and has an overall depth of 357 metres.
- Abel Tasman is a very popular national park in New Zealand, and a world-renowned sea kayaking destination.
5 Strangest Holes On Earth
5 – Monticello Dam,
- Located in northern California, the Monticello Dam is the largest ‘morning glory spillway’ in the world. Dam water is swallowed at a rate of 1,370 cubic metres per second and, thanks to the dam’s funnel-shaped outlet, is allowed to bypass the dam when it reaches capacity.
- The distance from the funnel to the exit point is about 700 feet, creating a spillway like a giant cement funnel. The hole’s largest diameter is 72 feet and narrows to about 28 feet. For obvious reasons, swimming near it is both prohibited and stupid.
- The reservoir is a popular summer recreation area, attracting as many as 1.3 million visitors each year. During the drier months, gnarly skateboarders and bikers use the spillway’s horizontal exit as a half-pipe.
4 – Dean’s Blue Hole,
- Blue holes are underwater holes, and the world’s largest discovered blue hole is Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. At a depth of 202 metres, Dean’s Blue Hole is more than twice as deep as most other blue holes, making it a favourite among professional deep-sea divers.
- The area is a tourist hotspot, and is home to a varied assortment of marine life. It’s also host to several championship diving events, including Vertical Blue, where more than 30 divers compete in a series of free-diving challenges.
- Long Island locals generally steer clear of Dean’s Blue Hole. According to legend, the hole was dug by the devil, and he still can be found there, dragging people who dare to swim in the hole to their deaths.
3 – Bingham Canyon Mine,
- The Bingham Canyon Mine is a copper mine in the Oquirrh mountains, Utah. The mine is 1.2 vertical kilometres deep and 4 kilometres wide.
- Owned by Rio Tinto Group, it is the world’s largest manmade excavation. Claims have been made that it is the only manmade feature visible to the naked eye from an orbiting space shuttle.
- Bingham Canyon Mine is considered the richest and most productive hole on Earth. Operations have been conducted there for over a century, and the environmental fallout has been considerable.
2 – The Sawmill Sink,
- Another blue hole in the Bahamas, the Sawmill Sink has more scientific significance than extreme sports attraction Dean’s Blue Hole. The Sawmill Sink was the site of an archaeological dig that has helped change scientists’ views on what the landscape was like 1,000 years ago.
- Interestingly, the Sawmill Sink was once dry, but slowly filled as water levels rose. This preserved the remains of seeds, birds, flowers and even a giant tortoise which was concealed there. Giant crocodile remains were also found. Researchers believe these were killed by primordial humans.
- The blue hole also held the remains of one of the earliest known residents of the Bahamas, estimated to be about 1,050 years old.
1 – The Heavenly Pit,
- The Heavenly Pit sinkhole in China is located in Xiaozhai, Tiankeng in the Chongqing District. It is a double-nested sinkhole measuring 662 metres deep, 626 metres long and 537 metres wide.
- The sinkhole gradually formed over 128,000 years and it is the deepest in the world. Because of its enormous size, it is frequented by extreme BASE-jumping adventurers
- It is structurally double nested, with upper and lower bowls 320 and 342 metres respectively.
- An 8.5 kilometre underground river flows beneath the sinkhole. This river and its surrounding cave was mapped and explored during the 1994 China Caves Project.
- A picture-perfect waterfall forms during the rainy season.