Il Pulo

Pulo di Altamura

Useful Information

Location: Near Altamura.
From Altamura center follow road SS96 Via Bari towards Bari. Turn left into Via Mura Megalitiche, after 50 m turn right into Via Vecchia Buoncammino. At crossing after 600 m stay on this road (keep left). 6.1 km on this road towards north, turn left 1 km to the doline. Road ends at huge parking lot. Not signposted, but in the dry plain is the doline visible from far.
(40.887295, 16.569574)
Open: no restrictions [2022]
Fee: free [2022]
Classification: KarstDoline
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=530 m, W=430 m, VR=85 m.
Guided tours: self guided. after appointment by Visite Guidate Coop., Archè a r.l., Tel. +39-080-3149622.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Pulo di Altamura, SP157, 1481, 70022 Altamura BA.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



Il Pulo (also Pulo di Altamura) is a huge hole in the ground, a KarstDoline which was formed by the collapse of a cave beneath. Located in a vegetation-less plain, it looks at first like a meteor crater, similar to the Meteor Crater in Arizona. But it is not circular, one side is straight, the other is curved inwards, altogether rather irregular. And with a close look this becomes clear: there are cliffs on the opposite side of the doline, obviously with karst caves and speleothems. To the west there is a sort of valley leading into the doline. It seems at some times of the year a small rivulet is flowing into the doline and vanishes through the collapse debris into the cave below.

Dolines are either shaped like a shaft with vertikal walls, and more or less flat floor, typically collapse dolines, or they are shaped like a bowl, typically solutional dolines. This is a bowl shaped doline. We almost classified it as a KarstTiankeng. Tiankengs are extremely huge dolines, but there are two definitions for this term. The simple one is, "it has a diameter and depth greater than 100 m", the other one "it is a collapse of a huge chamber". It looks more like a solutional doline, than a collapse doline. It may have formed by multiple collapses and disintegration of a network of small caves or by paleokarst dissolution. Even the simpler definition, only by size, does not apply, as it is only 85 m deep. So this doline actually fails both definitions, this is actually not a tiankeng, but it is really, really close.