Sinkholes, which are in Estonian also called “kurisus” (mouths of evil) are a kind of karstic cavities. Karstic formations are rather common in Hiiumaa and in particular in the south of the island. There are many other large sinkholes in the woods surrounding Uuejärve sinkhole.
Karstic holes are created by synergy of several factors, the most important of which is the solubility of the bedrock in water. In Estonia, karstic holes can be found in places where the bedrock is formed of dolomitic lime stone or limy dolomites.
Superficial waters are absorbed into the ground through the cavities left by dissolved limestone layers. A karstic phenomenon is especially vivid during spring flooding. Alarge amount of water may quickly disappear from a sinkhole. This is the reason why our ancestors called karstic holes “the mouths of evil”- it seemed as if an evil mouth had swallowed the water in the bottom of the hole. Some legends tell about things, animals or even people swallowed by a sinkhole. Karstic holes are often associated with places a good distance away where water comes up from the ground again.
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