Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Sinkhole, Ponor, Shakehole, Doline Karst Landscape

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_2267

A sinkhole is a near-vertical cavern that discharges surface water in a karst area. It is formed by dissolution, mechanical erosion and collapse caused by running water along fissures. These caverns are distributed in karst depressions, polje bottoms and sometimes on slopes. Sinkholes have various forms such as circular, oval and slot-shaped. Their depths range from several metres to more than a hundred metres. When they have steep walls and a great depth, they are called vertical shafts. Some sinkholes are not only drain holes but also serve as vertical seepage holes to discharge excessive groundwater overflow during periods of flooding. They are called estavelles and are commonly called ‘leigong hole’ in China, which means ‘Thunder God Hole’. The Qingjiang River enters the ground through the Tenglong Hole in Lichuan City, Hubei Province, to form unique scenery called ‘Crouching Dragon Swallows the Qingjiang River’. This hole is 35 m high and 25 m wide and is at an elevation of...

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