Fear of Sinkholes? Some are Actually Gorgeous!

  • Great Blue Hole, Belize

    The nearly perfect circular sinkhole known as the Great Blue Hole has become one of the world's top dive sites. The 1000-foot wide hole came to be after a then-above ground cave collapsed some 10,000 years ago. Today, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great spot for beginner divers.

    Photo courtesy of Jetske19

  • Ik Kil Cenote in the Yucatan

    The Mexican Caribbean is known for its cenotes and aquatic caves, and the Ik Kil Cenote is perhaps the most beautiful of them all. Vines drape from the ledge of the 200-foot wide opening above, and a staircase leads visitors down to the edge of the water, where you can swim with the black catfish that call the pool home.  You'll find this amazing sinkhole 2 hours west of Cancun.

    Photo courtesy of daryl_mitchell

  • Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

    Turkmenistan's Door to Hell isn't a natural sinkhole; it was formed when Soviet scientists were drilling into the natural gas fields of the area in 1971. The ground gave way, and the entire rig and drilling camp were swallowed. When the researchers noticed methane gas leaking from the gaping hole, they lit it on fire to avoid any potential dangers to the environment and nearby population. It's been burning continuously ever since.

    Photo courtesy of P.Lechien

  • Devil's Hole, Florida

    Devil's Hole, a sinkhole between Gainesville and Hawthorne, Florida, is both visually pleasing and fun. Surrounded by think vegetation, the sinkhole has filled with water and transformed into a mini lake, and visitors have put up rope swings and platforms that allow you to swing over and jump in.

    Photo courtesy of Mason Berry

  • Bahmah Sinkhole in Oman

    Oman's Bahmah Sinkhole is considered one of the most beautiful on earth, and it serves as a swimming hole for local residents and tourists who come to see its azure waters. This particular sinkhole was formed over time as groundwater gradually wore away at the limestone until it collapsed to create this beautiful and dramatic scene.

    Photo courtesy of naturalbornstupid

  • Neversink Pit, Alabama

    Neversink Pit, a limestone sinkhole in Jackson County, Alabama, is likely the most photographed sinkhole in the world, thanks in part to its moss-covered walls, rare ferns and waterfalls cascading down its sides. If you're in need of an adrenaline rush, Neversink Pit is a popular destination for repelling and vertical caving.  Drive 3 hours northwest of Atlanta.

    Photo courtesy of Matt Tomlinson

  • Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas

    Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas is the world's deepest known saltwater sinkhole, plunging 663 feet into the bay off Long Island. It's also the site of many daredevil stunts – some resulting in world records. In 2010, the freediving record was set with a dive to 302 feet without the help of fins. The same man broke his own record later the same year by diving 331 feet with only a single breath.

    Photo courtesy of Ton Engwirda

  • Montezuma Well, Arizona

    Located in Arizona's Montezuma Castle National Monument, Montezuma Well was also formed by the collapse of a limestone cave, and today, more than a million gallons of water flow through the sinkhole each day. The landmark's most fascinating feature is its unique ecosystem created by highly carbonated water with high levels of arsenic – a comfortable home for five endemic species found nowhere else in the world.  Drive 36 miles SW of Sedona to find it.

    Photo courtesy of psyberartist

  • Guatemala Sinkhole of 2007

    Not all sinkholes are so beautiful. Guatemala City experienced one of the most terrifying and deadly sinkholes in 2010 – a 60-foot behemoth that swallowed an entire three story building and killing at least three people. Another massive sinkhole consumed a dozen homes in the city in 2007.  

    Photo courtesy of Eric Heather Haddox