Strangest Holes in the Earth
From asteroids crashing into the planet … to holes drilled deep under the ground … Here are 18 of the strangest holes in the Earth!
#18 The Door to Hell
There are numerous places claiming to be the entrance to Hades. But this one in Derweze (dur-wiz), Turkmenistan almost looks like typecasting. Soviet engineers created it by accident in the early 1970s when they identified it as a potentially huge oil site. But instead of finding oil, they drilled into some enormous reserves of natural gas. When poisonous fumes threatened local towns, a decision was made to burn off the gas. That process was expected to last for a couple of weeks. But nearly 50 years later, the fire is still burning as hot as ever. Measuring around 226 feet in diameter (69 m), it has a depth of nearly 100 feet (30 m), it’s not the deepest hole on the list. But whatever it lacks in depth, the huge natural gas crater makes up for in sheer visual impact.
#17 Chand Baori Well (chan-bow-ree)
Constructed between 800 and 900 AD, this stepwell is among the oldest and best known landmarks of Rajasthan, in India. Around 100 feet deep (30 m), it has more than 3,000 narrow steps and 13 floors. The well’s impressive design was meant to conserve as much water as possible in the arid region. Air at the bottom stays up to 6 degrees cooler than air at the top. During periods of intense heat, it was used as a gathering place for locals in the community.
#16 Cenotes (sin-oh-tees)
That term often refers to a sinkhole, or natural pit created as the result of limestone bedrock that collapses and exposes the groundwater underneath. Cenotes are most often associated with Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where you can find more than 6,000 different cenotes. The best known can measure tens of feet in diameter, and are huge, open water pools. One great example of such would be the Dos Ojos (oh-hoes) Cenote in Mexico. Exploration of that flooded cave system began in 1987 and is still ongoing. Experts say that the cave system measures more than 50 miles (80 km), and its deepest passage plunges nearly 400 feet (122 m)! With at least 25 sinkhole entrances found there, the spectacular location attracts visitors from all over the world.
#15 Diavik Diamond Mine (DIE-ah-vik)
Found in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the diamond mine yields over 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg) of diamonds each year. Set in an isolated, sub arctic landscape, the mine goes more than 600 feet deep (183 m). At one point, an ice road was the only connection to the massive hole. Later, an airport was constructed, which features a gravel runway extending more than 5,200 feet (1,585 m). That enough space to land a Boeing 737. While the hole is extensive, it will likely have a relatively short lifespan. After commencing operations in 2003, the mine is expected to be exhausted in around 22 years.
#13 Another Guatemala Sinkhole
In 2010, another humongous hole opened up in the ground of Guatemala City. This one was smaller than its predecessor, going some 65 feet across and measuring around 300 feet deep (91 m). But that was still deep enough to swallow up a three story factory. Along with leaky sewer pipes, factors including tropical storms and local volcanic activity were cited for the sinkhole’s formation.
#12 Dean’s Blue Hole
Plunging in excess of 660 feet (202 m), this deep blue hole is located on Long Island in the Bahamas. It’s deeper than the Great Blue Hole of Belize and is mostly circular at the surface, at around 115 feet in diameter (35 m). After descending some 66 feet (20 m), the hole widens impressively into a canyon that encompasses 330 feet (101 m). Did you know this is actually the second deepest salt water blue hole known for having an entrance below sea level? The deepest such formation is Dragon Hole, located in the South China Sea. It has a recorded depth of 987 feet (301 m).
#14 Guatemala City Sinkhole
Measuring some 330 feet deep (101 m), this massive sinkhole appeared in Guatemala City in 2007. Experts say the huge aperture formed for a number of reasons, including fluids from sewer pipes that leaked and dissolved the rock underneath. Five deaths were reported while more than a thousand people were evacuated from the area. If you want a clearer perspective of just how huge this sinkhole was, the Statue of Liberty could have fit in there.