Victor Valley College Tropical Research Initiative
Herpetofauna of Timor-Leste
Phase V

Mainina sinkhole, Lautém District


The climb up and over the karst was short and steep, but it was worthwhile to visit the sinkhole which consisted of a green lake surrounded by forest and rocks. Although the surface was still, deep below in the depths there were open plugholes, down which the Irasequiro River was steadily pouring like water emptying out of a bathtub. At a certain time of the year, when water levels are much lower in Lake Ira Lalaro (as we had observed in 2009), this green lake would turn back into a sinkhole with a waterfall in the centre.

Satellite view of Irasequiro River and Mainina sinkhole.
Click to enlarge.

The still waters and crowed trees of Mainina sinkhole.
Mainina sinkhole, a large green bath with the plug removed.

Trekking back to the vehicles we stopped for an improptu lecture on how rainforest trees require buttresses to support themselves on the thin soil of the jungle floor.

The team around the tree buttress where Hinrich held his lecture
(l-r) Luis, David, Mark, Hinrich, Marissa, Caitlin, Laca, Zito, guide & Naveen