Skip to main content

Wedding & Event Venue Near Saint George, SC.

Platform Lifts-phone-nuber864-980-8004

Wedding Consultation

Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Saint George, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Saint George, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Saint George native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Saint George, SC

Weddings

 Event Venue Saint George, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Saint George, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Saint George, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Saint George, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Saint George, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Saint George, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Saint George, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Saint George's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Saint George.

 Wedding Venue Saint George, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Saint George?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Saint George, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Saint George, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Saint George, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Saint George, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.

Decor

When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Saint George, SC
Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Saint George, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.

Abney-Hall-Pro-Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Saint George, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Saint George, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Saint George, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Saint George, SC

Latest News in Saint George, SC

BSC’s Saint George on a Bike AI Art Project Launches Citizen Science Campaign

May 5, 2022 — The analysis of the millions of artworks that are part of the cultural and artistic heritage is a job that seems impossible for human beings, but not so for supercomputers. The European project Saint George on a Bike, coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in collaboration with the Europeana Foundation, started in 2019 with the aim of using the MareNostrum 4 supercomputer to train Artificial Intelligence models, which help disseminate among citizens the wealth of European cultural heritage ...

May 5, 2022 — The analysis of the millions of artworks that are part of the cultural and artistic heritage is a job that seems impossible for human beings, but not so for supercomputers. The European project Saint George on a Bike, coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) in collaboration with the Europeana Foundation, started in 2019 with the aim of using the MareNostrum 4 supercomputer to train Artificial Intelligence models, which help disseminate among citizens the wealth of European cultural heritage and recognition of its value as well as the understanding and awareness of its conservation and promotion. The project aims to generate automatic descriptions of hundreds of thousands of images from various cultural heritage repositories using natural language processing and deep learning algorithms.

In a second phase of the project, the researchers launched a crowdsourcing campaign in Zooniverse, a citizen science portal based on open peer-to-peer collaboration, to collect thousands of manual annotations that help better train these Artificial Intelligence models. The campaign is completely open and anyone can participate by accessing this link.

“Our project will allow quick access to enriched cultural information, which can serve equally well for cultural and social ends, education, tourism, and possibly for historians or anthropologists. Indirectly the citizens can benefit from better public services, when these are based on the insight that the richer metadata we produce offers – such as web accessibility for the visually impaired or narratives that can expose social injustice or integration and gender issues through cultural heritage corpora and help create a more tolerant European identity” says Maria-Cristina Marinescu, BSC researcher and Saint George on a Bike project coordinator.

To date, no AI system has been built and trained to help in the description of cultural heritage images with the maximum coverage of topics, objects and iconographic relations while factoring in the time-period and scene composition rules for sacred iconography from the 14th to the 18th centuries.

“This ambitious project interprets images according to their context for the first time, and thus seeks to give machines a certain common sense, which is one of the great barriers to Artificial Intelligence today” says Joaquim Moré, BSC researcher and project’s expert in computational linguistics. “For instance, For example, when it first identifies a motorbike in a 15th century painting of St George, it corrects itself and identifies the most plausible object for the period, which is a horse. This adaptation will be also made according to the cultural context. For example, in the Japanese cultural context, what in Europe we would call a knight would be a samurai” he concludes.

The project has also launched an inspiring video (below) that highlights the use of Artificial Intelligence to detect images and compositions never seen before, the extraction of relations between thousands of images or the opportunity to organize virtual exhibitions with related paintings from all over the world.

Further information about the project: https://saintgeorgeonabike.eu.

Source: BSC

BID Group expanding operations in Dorchester County

COLUMBIA, S.C. – BID Group, a leader in the wood processing industry, today announced plans to expand operations in Dorchester County. The company’s $10.6 million investment will create 25 new jobs.With locations throughout the United States and Canada, BID Group has more than 30 years of experience in the forestry sector, delivering a complete range of equipment, services and turnkey installations for the industry.Located at 176...

COLUMBIA, S.C. – BID Group, a leader in the wood processing industry, today announced plans to expand operations in Dorchester County. The company’s $10.6 million investment will create 25 new jobs.

With locations throughout the United States and Canada, BID Group has more than 30 years of experience in the forestry sector, delivering a complete range of equipment, services and turnkey installations for the industry.

Located at 176 Academy Road in St. George since 2013, the company is acquiring a new computerized numerical control (CNC) horizontal milling machine and increasing the size of its current warehouse. The new CNC machine will increase the company’s manufacturing capacity.

The expansion is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2023. Individuals interested in joining the BID Group team should visit the company’s careers page.

QUOTES

“We would like to thank Dorchester County and the South Carolina Department of Commerce for their contributions to and support of these investments. We are humbled and honored by their continued trust in BID. We are excited to be increasing our presence in South Carolina to support the growing needs of our highly valued customers. The multiple projects within this investment will allow the company to increase capacity, advance efficiency and improve lead time.” -BID Group Chief Financial Officer Adam Infanti

“Today’s expansion announcement by BID Group in Dorchester County further proves that South Carolina has the workforce and business environment that companies need in order to succeed. We celebrate BID Group’s decision to invest $10.6 million and create 25 new jobs.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“The BID Group’s continued investment in South Carolina adds to the success of our ever-growing manufacturing and agribusiness sectors. We congratulate the BID Group on their success and look forward to watching them thrive for many years to come.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“Dorchester County congratulates BID Group on their expansion and thanks them for their ongoing confidence and investment in Dorchester County. BID Group has been a great ally to both the county and the town of St. George since they arrived in 2013, and we wish them continued success for the future.” -Dorchester County Council Chairman Bill Hearn

Opa! Greek Festival You Love is Back in Greenville, SC

One of Greenville’s most popular festivals is finally back – which means awesome food, lively entertainment, and vendors with beautiful, traditional Greek items. The 2022 Greek Festival is happening at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Greenville, SC on May 13-15, 2022.I look forward to the Greek Festival every year and count down the days until I get my bak...

One of Greenville’s most popular festivals is finally back – which means awesome food, lively entertainment, and vendors with beautiful, traditional Greek items. The 2022 Greek Festival is happening at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Greenville, SC on May 13-15, 2022.

I look forward to the Greek Festival every year and count down the days until I get my baklava and gyro fix. The spring festival is during the perfect time of year, usually having good weather and lots of lively entertainment. This year, it’s back to in-person, too!

The St. George Greek Orthodox Church hosts three days worth of music, food, and authentic Greek vendors that sell clothes, jewelry, and other fun goods. I love strolling through the vendors and have purchased jewelry and headbands in the past, plus lots of good food. Did I mention their baklava is amazing?

The live music and dancing is back for 2022. You can see the full schedule of entertainment on the Greek Festival website. It’s jam-packed. There is a big, grassy seating area above the stage where you can hang out and watch the entertainment and there is also covered tables for dining.

The music is so lively and fun. It makes me wish I had any knowledge whatsoever of Greek dancing. The costumes are beautiful as well with lots of bright colors and jingly things on the ends. Again, showing my lack of knowledge of traditional Greek outfits (apologies).

The festival takes place at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church and they will be offering tours of the inside plus have an iconography exhibit available.

Food available on the festival grounds outdoors are their traditional Gyros, Athenian Chicken, Pastichio, and Moussakawe. They also have Greek Pizza, Lamb Burgers, Greek Fries, Souvlaki, Greek-Style Ribs, Baklava Sundaes, Greek Donuts (Loukoumades), Greek Coffee, Lemonade and Beer. New in 2022, they will have a Taverna with Greek beer, wine, and “mezedes”, which is a traditional Greek appetizer.

If you haven’t had Greek pastries before, you need to try them. They will have many for sale including baklava, koulourakia, kourambiedes or a combination assortment. Get the baklava. It’s a layered pastry of thin philo dough with honey and nuts. Oh my gosh, I’m so hungry.

If you’re not able to attend the festival but still want the great food available, you can order drive-thru. They will be offering Athenian Chicken, Pastichio, or Moussaka plus my personal favorite, Gyros. And you can still get baklava at the drive-thru, which is on Elford Street (you’ll enter off Academy Street).

The 2022 Greek Festival will take place at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Greenville on May 13-15, 2022 (Friday-Sunday).

Admission is $2/person, which benefits the Barbara Stone Foundation. The hours are Friday and Saturday, 11 am -8 pm and Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm.

Who’s excited about the 2022 Greek Festival?

My Charleston Weekend: A jam-packed weekend for Charleston music scene

Whatever your musical taste, there’s an event for you this weekend.From local rock bands and hip-hop artists to ukulele players and showtunes, we’ve got you covered. Celebrate Palmetto Moon’s anniversary at Firefly Distillery or take your kids to a free performance of “Treasure Island.” Put on your dancing shoes because the Lowcountry is full of fun events to keep you busy.Gibbes on the StreetCelebrate the sights, sounds and smells of Charleston’s arts and food scenes at the Gibbes M...

Whatever your musical taste, there’s an event for you this weekend.

From local rock bands and hip-hop artists to ukulele players and showtunes, we’ve got you covered. Celebrate Palmetto Moon’s anniversary at Firefly Distillery or take your kids to a free performance of “Treasure Island.” Put on your dancing shoes because the Lowcountry is full of fun events to keep you busy.

Gibbes on the Street

Celebrate the sights, sounds and smells of Charleston’s arts and food scenes at the Gibbes Museum’s culinary street fair. Sample delectable dishes from 15 restaurants, including Babas on Cannon, Brasserie La Banque, Husk and Jackrabbit Filly. Enjoy an open bar and dance to live music on the picturesque stretch of Meeting Street in front of the Gibbes.

The long-running event returns from 8-10 p.m. May 12 at the museum as part of the new Art Charleston festival. Tickets to Gibbes on the Street are $175 for museum members and $200 for nonmembers, available to purchase at bit.ly/3waK9ne.

The Art Charleston festival runs through May 13 with artist talks, walking tours, workshops and more. See all the events at gibbesmuseum.org/art-charleston.

‘Treasure Island’

Embark on a swashbuckling adventure this weekend or next with Charleston Stage as they host a tour of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” The play is a free, fully staged and professional production perfect for the whole family. Even landlubbers will enjoy the colorful costumes, beautiful sets and hilarious pirate antics.

This weekend’s performance will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 12 at Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant. For a bit of grub, show up at 4 to enjoy local food trucks including Southern Roots Smokehouse and King of Pops. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to stay comfortable during the show.

The tour continues next weekend with shows at 6 p.m. May 19 at Oak Terrace Community Park in North Charleston, May 20 near the Hampton Park gazebo in Charleston and May 21 in Davis-Bailey Park in St. George.

For more information and to learn what to expect on each date, go to charlestonstage.com/tour.

A Southern Made Celebration

Celebrate Palmetto Moon’s 20th anniversary at Firefly Distillery with live music, good food, delicious drinks and a pop-up Palmetto Moon store. The fun starts at noon May 14 with local band KODA and runs until 6 p.m. with performances by Gritty Flyright, Lauren Hall and Randall Fowler. Food trucks will be on site, and Firefly will have a special edition of their sweet tea vodka.

Tickets for the event are $15 and children under 10 get in free. Listen from one of the picnic tables or bring your own chairs to spread out while you enjoy the tunes. For more info, go to bit.ly/3vZIEJN.

It’s not too late to get tickets to see Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town in concert on May 12. The country music stars are touring across the U.S. to raise funds for animal shelters at each stop. In South Carolina, this honor goes to Berkeley Animal Center in Moncks Corner. In addition to benefiting from concert proceeds, the shelter will have a table set up to accept donations of supplies and money. Stop by to help fill up the little red wagon and get the chance to win upgraded tickets or a Tractor Supply gift card.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. May 12 at Credit One Stadium on Daniel Island. Tickets start at $43, but most available tickets range from $90-$250. To purchase, go to bit.ly/3yzHsym.

Blackwater Ukulele Festival

If you play ukulele, want to pick up a new hobby or just enjoy a day of mellow music, head to Moncks Corner for the Blackwater Ukulele Festival on May 14. Shop for candles, honey, soaps, arts and crafts, and, of course, ukuleles. Learn the basics at a workshop for beginners or experienced players. After the workshops, enjoy performances by Lil Uke Band, Charleston Hot Shots and more followed by open mic and jam sessions. Other acoustic instruments are welcome to jam, and you can download a songbook ahead of time.

The festival takes place from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. May 14 at Cyprus Gardens. The festival is free with park admission, which can be purchased in advance at cypressgardens.berkeleycountysc.gov/box-office. Admission is $5-$10 for ages 6 and up. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Magdalene House of Charleston and Berkeley County Animal Center. For more information, go to charlestonhotshots.com/ukefest.

Local three-piece rock band The Simplicity have curated a full night of music for Simple Fest, happening 5-11:30 p.m. May 14 at Lo-Fi Brewing in North Charleston. The one-night festival will highlight South Carolina-made music, food and art with vendors, food trucks and live performances. The lineup includes Abstract That Rapper from Charleston, acoustic-folk group A La Mids from Columbia and self-described “chillbilly” J.S. Terry & the Holston Creek Boys from Greenville. Enjoy beer from Lo-Fi and food from Roti Rolls. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the show. Purchase them online at bit.ly/3vZy5GT.

Giant sinkhole with a forest inside found in China

(Image credit: Song Wen/Xinhua/Alamy Live News)A team of Chinese scientists has discovered a giant new sinkhole with a forest at its bottom.The sinkhole is 630 feet (192 meters) deep, according to the ...

(Image credit: Song Wen/Xinhua/Alamy Live News)

A team of Chinese scientists has discovered a giant new sinkhole with a forest at its bottom.

The sinkhole is 630 feet (192 meters) deep, according to the Xinhua news agency, deep enough to just swallow St. Louis' Gateway Arch. A team of speleologists and spelunkers rappelled into the sinkhole on Friday (May 6), discovering that there are three cave entrances in the chasm, as well as ancient trees 131 feet (40 m) tall, stretching their branches toward the sunlight that filters through the sinkhole entrance.

"This is cool news," said George Veni, the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in the U.S., and an international expert on caves. Veni was not involved in the exploration of the cave, but the organization that was, the Institute of Karst Geology of the China Geological Survey, is NCKRI's sister institute.

A site for sinkholes

(Image credit: Eastimages/Getty Images)

The discovery is no surprise, Veni told Live Science, because southern China is home to karst topography, a landscape prone to dramatic sinkholes and otherworldly caves. Karst landscapes are formed primarily by the dissolution of bedrock, Veni said. Rainwater, which is slightly acidic, picks up carbon dioxide as it runs through the soil, becoming more acidic. It then trickles, rushes and flows through cracks in the bedrock, slowly widening them into tunnels and voids. Over time, if a cave chamber gets large enough, the ceiling can gradually collapse, opening up huge sinkholes.

"Because of local differences in geology, climate and other factors, the way karst appears at the surface can be dramatically different," he said. "So in China you have this incredibly visually spectacular karst with enormous sinkholes and giant cave entrances and so forth. In other parts of the world you walk out on the karst and you really don't notice anything. Sinkholes might be quite subdued, only a meter or two in diameter. Cave entrances might be very small, so you have to squeeze your way into them."

In fact, 25% of the United States is karst or pseudokarst, which features caves carved by factors other than dissolution, such as volcanics or wind, Veni said. About 20% of the world's landmass is made of one of these two cave-rich landscapes.

The new discovery took place in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, near Ping'e village in the county of Leye, according to Xinhua. Guangxi is known for its fabulous karst formations, which range from sinkholes to rock pillars to natural bridges and have earned the region UNESCO world heritage site designation.

Why sinkholes matter

The sinkhole's interior is 1,004 feet (306 m) long and 492 feet (150 m) wide, Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer with the Institute of Karst Geology, told Xinhua. The Mandarin word for such enormous sinkholes is "tiankeng," or "heavenly pit," and the bottom of the sinkhole did indeed seem like another world. Chen Lixin, who led the cave expedition team, told Xinhua that the dense undergrowth on the sinkhole floor was as high as a person's shoulders. Karst caves and sinkholes can provide an oasis for life, Veni said.

"I wouldn't be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now," Lixin said.

In one West Texas cave, Veni said, tropical ferns grow abundantly; the spores of the ferns were apparently carried to the sheltered spot by bats that migrate to South and Central America.

Not only do sinkholes and caves offer refuge for life, they are also a conduit to aquifers, or deep stores of underground water. Karst aquifers provide the sole or primary water source for 700 million people worldwide, Veni said. But they're easily accessed and drained — or polluted.

"Karst aquifers are the only types of aquifers that you can pollute with solid waste," Veni said. "I've pulled car batteries and car bodies and barrels of God-knows-what and bottles of God-knows-what out of the active cave stream."

The new discovery brings the number of sinkholes in Leye County to 30, according to Xinhua. The same researchers have previously discovered dozens of sinkholes in Northwest China's Shaanxi province and a cluster of interconnected sinkholes in Guangxi, China Daily reported.

Originally published on Live Science.

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Disclaimer:

This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.