Danube Sinkhole: where the waters change river

As the title indicates, there is a place in southern Germany where something curious happens. The waters that run along the Danube River, heading towards the Black Sea, disappear into the Danube Sinkhole to reappear at a short distance, but in the Rhine River basin, which follows a completely different direction to the Danube until it flows into the North Sea.

The Danube is born in the town of Donaueschingen, in the Black Forest of Germany, after the junction of the Brigach and Breg rivers. From there it flows some 2,888 kilometers (1,771 mi) to the east, passing through 10 countries, until it empties into the Black Sea, in the territory of Romania.

Danube sinhole dry bed
Tourists walking on the dry river bed. (Photo: Roland Nonnenmacher)

In its upper basin, more precisely between the towns of Immendingen and Fridingen, the Danube Sinkhole takes place. Here, the waters disappear underground approximately 155 days a year due to a karstic system and appear 11.8 kilometers to the south, in the town of Aachtopf, and at a height of 180 meters lower.

Danube Sinkhole map
Approximately 155 days a year, the waters of the Danube River disappear underground into the sinkhole located between the towns of Immendingen and Fridingen. (Map: Kreuzschnabel)
Danube sinkhole relief graphic
The waters of the Danube (Donau, in German) circulate underground for almost 12 kilometers to resurface again in Aachtopf. (Image: Helfmann)

When the water resurface in that new place, it become part of the Aach River, which integrates the Rhine basin.

In this way, the water captured by the Danube Sinkhole change course and instead of going to the east of Europe, it will go to the north.

Since 1874 there is news of the existence of the Danube River Sinkhole and the place is frequented by tourists who want to experience the experience of walking along the dry riverbed.

Meanwhile, in Aachtopf, the waters suddenly emerge forming a small lagoon that gives life to the Aach River.

Aachquelle (Imagen: Peter Stein)

Iani Nikolov
News Reporter

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