Holey Moly!

Look: 7 weird things scientists have found in sinkholes

Beware the (seemingly) bottomless pit!



Off the coast of Belize is a gaping abyss called the Great Blue Hole.

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But what’s in them? Not all sinkholes have been thoroughly explored, but in the ones that have, researchers have found some strange surprises.

Sometimes they even give us clues to what life was like thousands of years ago.

Here are 7 surprising things uncovered from sinkholes:


7. An Ancient Volcano

Volcanologists in New Zealand peered down at a 60,000-year-old volcano that appeared when a sinkhole opened up in the ground near the city of Rotorua in 2018.

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6. Human remains

A skeleton discovered in the submerged Chan Hol cave near Tulum, Mexico, was estimated to be nearly 13,000 years old, giving further evidence to the idea that humans arrived in North American earlier than first assumed.

Nick Poole and Thomas Spamberg


5. Microbe Communities

In Lake Huron, a giant pit called the Middle Island Sinkhole houses thriving communities of bacteria and microbes.

Phil Hartmeyer, NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Phil Hartmeyer, NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

4. Fossilized Animals

Tortoises, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, bats, and at least 25 species of birds were uncovered from a blue hole called Sawmill Sink in the Bahamas. Researchers described their findings in a 2007 report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Head Like and Orange via Giphy


3. Stalactites

These massive formations grow from mineral and sediment deposits over thousands of years.

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A research team from Germany analyzed this stalactite sample from the Great Blue Hole for a 2017 paper in the Journal of Sedimentary Research. It was originally gathered in 1970 by famed explorer Jacques Cousteau.Daniel Parwareschnia


2. Conch tracks

When researchers probed the bottom of the Great Blue Hole in 2018, they saw prints from dead conches — sea snails — that had fallen into the pit.

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1. Trash

Yep, litter has also been found at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole.

Dolphin Discovery via Giphy


US National Archives via Giphy

If that’s not enough of a reason to make sure your trash gets properly disposed of, then perhaps nothing will be.

Read more stories about science here.

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