626 meters into the Earth: where is the world’s deepest sinkhole

Many have heard of sinkholes – specific landforms that look like sinkholes or wells and have considerable depth. The famous cenotes on the Yucatan Peninsula, karst sinkholes in the caves of Europe and Southeast Asia, and various blue holes in the ocean are all formed where there are rocks that are subject to the destructive effects of water. But do you know what the deepest sinkhole on our planet is called? It is Xiaozhai Tiankeng, an incredible Celestial Pit, which is up to 626 meters deep.

The Great Blue Hole in Belize, with its depth of 124 meters, will seem very modest compared to this miracle of nature.

This grandiose water creation is located in China, near the large city of Chongqing. In Chinese, the name of the Heavenly Pit sounds like Xiaozhai Tiankeng. Local rocks are limestone, which is very unstable to the ravages of water.

Ladders to descend in sinkhole
Ladders to descend in the sinkhole

The author of the Heavenly Pit is believed to be the underground river flowing in the Dipheng Cave, whose waters dissolved the limestone. The river is still flowing under the sinkhole, and perhaps its depth will increase in the future.

The karst sinkhole consists of two parts of approximately equal depth. In the upper part, where the sunlight hits, the walls of the Heavenly Pit are covered with lush tropical vegetation. Interestingly, it has formed its own ecosystem with a particular set of plant and animal species.

Botanists have counted more than 1200 varieties of plants here, and under the shade of trees was even spotted a rare representative of the cat – a smoky leopard.

spotted rare representative of the cat – a smoky leopard
Spotted rare representative of the cat – a smoky leopard

Of course, such an impressive natural object is of interest not only to scientists, but also to tourists.

Inside the gap is equipped with a ladder, consisting of a huge number of steps, on which you can go down to the very bottom. Each year during the rainy season, the Heavenly Pit of Xiaozhai Tiankeng is visited by thousands of tourists.

Xiaozhai Tiankeng is the deepest sinkhole on earth
Xiaozhai Tiankeng is the deepest sinkhole on earth

It is believed that during this time, the Xiaozhai Tiankeng sinkhole is especially interesting – on its steep walls flow down dozens of waterfalls, creating an incredibly beautiful spectacle. There are also extreme lovers who jump into the pit with a parachute.

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