Nature is a beautiful thing, with lots of gorgeous animals and plants, and plenty of places to visit. Of course, nature can be terrifying, too, as illustrated by natural disasters, bloodthirsty creatures, and the strange pits and holes found in it.
Sometimes these holes are man-made, created when people search for precious metals or gems in the earth. Other times, they're created naturally and exude even more danger just by existing. Whatever the case may be, these are some holes and pits that no one wants to visit on vacation or stand near, just in case they somehow have the power to pull people inside.
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Devils Hole, Death Valley National Park, Nevada
Located in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada, Devils Hole is a detached unit of Death Valley National Park. This natural phenomenon is a gateway to underground caverns filled with water that house endangered pupfish. These pupfish have been in the water under the desert for an estimated 2,500 years.
In 1965, two young adults attempted to enter and swim in the estimated 900-foot-deep "inverted funnel" of Devils Hole. Ill-prepared in their flippers and snorkeling masks, the two disappeared without a trace in the underground waters.
Charles Manson once convinced himself that Devils Hole was a gateway for his infamous family to find water and shelter in the desert. He believed he could reach this fabled underground safe house by draining the water, and he supposedly spent three days meditating near Devils Hole.
The area is now fenced off from the public to prevent anymore disappearances. This also preserves the 60,000-year-old natural wonder, which is able to pick up seismic activity around the world, causing its water to splash up to 6 feet high.
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Darvaza Gas Crater, Darvaza, Turkmenistan
The Darvaza Gas Crater, also known as the "Gates of Hell," is a 230-foot-wide indentation in the earth that has been burning since 1971. Russian drilling rigs accidentally punctured a cavern full of natural gas hiding beneath the surface, prompting a massive collapse into a crater and sending gas into the air.
In order to eliminate the gas and the problems it would cause, the Russians lit the hole on fire and expected it to burn out, which it never did. However, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan issued an order in January 2022 to find a way to put the flames out once and for all.
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Berkeley Pit, Butte, Montana
Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT, used to be an open-pit copper mine before it filled with acidic water and became toxic to people. However, the once-impressive mine that provided 320 million tons of ore and 700 million tons of waste rock now houses fungal and bacterial species beneath its surface.
Copper, iron, arsenic, cadmium, zinc, and sulfuric acid are all found in its waters, and the fungus and bacteria present have adapted to survive in the harsh environment. Although it would kill a human by destroying their digestive system if ingested, the waters have created species that could impact cancer research down the line.
Berkeley Pit measures 1 mile by 1/2 mile wide, with a depth of over 1,780 feet.
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Bottomless Pit, Flagstaff, Arizona
The Bottomless Pit of Flagstaff has been around for roughly 100 years and features a drop of approximately 609 meters (2,000 feet). The area has been off-limits to the public since two young boys attempted to climb down the pit in 1991 and were trapped until rescue crews could reach them.
Before the sinkhole opened, a plug likely allowed water to accumulate into a lake. Now, water that rushes into the Bottomless Pit after a heavy rainfall eventually disappears into the ground instead of remaining on the surface.
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The Big Hole, Kimberley, South Africa
The Big Hole in South Africa is the largest man-made excavation site in the world, measuring 1,097 meters deep (3,600 feet). Originally, this piece of land was flat, but over 150 years ago, rumors of diamonds below its surface attracted fortune-seekers.
Using picks and shovels, thousands of hopeful prospectors excavated the massive hole. From 1871-1914, this active mine yielded 2,722 kilograms (over 6,000 pounds) of diamonds.
It's now a tourist attraction, along with the nearby Kimberley Mine Museum.
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Great Blue Hole, Belize
Sharks, tropical fish, and coral formations make Belize's Great Blue Hole a destination for scuba and snorkeling.
It's over 300 meters (984 feet) wide and 125 meters (410 feet) deep and is the largest blue hole natural formation. It's also a part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.