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The Green Waterhole

The Green Waterhole

The Green Waterhole is a cave located in Tantanoola; a local town in South Australia’s Limestone Coast. The cave is valuable for palaeontology and cave diving enthusiasts primarily because it’s within a 30-million-year old Oligocene coralline limestone cave.

Its distinguishing feature is the karst sinkhole; most of which is filled with water.

The Green Waterhole, Sinkhole & Cave Diving Location, Tantanoola SA

The Green Waterhole is now known as the Fossil Cave, though many people still refer to it by its previous name. Its name was changed by the Government of South Australia in 1989, due to the abundance of fossils found in the area.

Scientists and divers have been discovering many Pleistocene sub fossils of both mammals and birds here since the 1960s; particularly in the rock pile that is 15 meters below the water’s surface. It was in 1964 when fossils were first found, followed by another in 1968. Many expeditions were arranged by the South Australian Museum from 1968 through 1974, while the South Australian Underwater Speleological Society carried out an excavation in 1987.

The theory is that these animals drowned in an attempt to drink from the water. Subfossil dating reveals that the remains go as far back as 15,000 to 40,000 years ago. It’s quite fascinating considering that they have found the fossils of numerous extinct species here.

Cave diving activities at the Green Waterhole are restricted to advanced-level members of the Cave Divers Association of Australia. Other famous sinkholes nearby include three found at Ewen Ponds, and another one at Little Blue Lake.

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