Created By: Leporidae on April 10, 2017 Last Edited By: Leporidae on July 24, 2017
Troped

Sea Sinkhole

A waterfall that flows continuously inwards, yet does not fill the basin beneath it.

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trope
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waterfall.jpg
Where does all that water even go? note 

A waterfall located in the midst of a larger body of water that pours continuously inwards — as if rushing over the lip of a suddenly submerged cup. Logic dictates that water flowing over the falls should fill the basin into which it flows. But through some means a void remains, and the falls continue to flow. The physics behind this phenomenon can be handwaved away with environmental magic, or the author can conjure up a high tech, super-efficient water recycling machine that somehow keeps the basin from flooding. The space at the center of these waterfalls seems to be coveted real estate, drawing all sorts of examples of Bizarrchitecture. Can be the mark of a not-quite-so-underwater Underwater City.

Dramatically speaking, there's always the possibility that whatever machinery or magic drains the basin will break and the protagonists will be faced with a rapidly flooding arena. Whether or not they can swim is a different story.

Sister trope to Waterfall into the Abyss, in which water cascades from a seemingly inexhaustible source off the side of a Floating Island or the edge of a Flat Land. Also related to Mega Maelstrom, which is mother nature's version of this but with spinning . Can lead to an Inevitable Waterfall moment, even in the middle of an ocean.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

Video Games

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Bell-mouth spillways found in reservoirs around the world. When the water level is low, they look like inverted trumpet bells stick out of the water. When the water level is high, it looks like a hole's opened up in the surface of the water.
  • The National 9/11 Memorial features two rectangular "reflecting pool" fountains. At the center of each pool is a small square waterfall, while the edges of the pools are much taller waterfalls that cascade inwards, The fountains are set in the footprint of the twin towers.

Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • April 11, 2017
    MetaFour
    The title made me think of MC Escher's "Waterfall", which is an example of Alien Geometries rather than this.
  • April 11, 2017
    Leporidae
    That MC Escher work makes me think of Bizarrchitecture, but I digress.

    I'm open to changing the name of the trope if a better one is put forwards.
  • April 11, 2017
    Getta
    I don't think it's the "circular-ness" that's the thing, but rather about where all those water goes. Guess that Waterfall Into The Abyss is thought as this, while this draft is made to address it? (and perhaps all of those misuses are due to the image showing a circular waterfall)
  • April 11, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    My impression was that with Waterfall Into The Abyss, the question is where does the water come from (as a floating landmass with water actively pouring off it would eventually run dry), as opposed to here, whereas her the question seems to be where does the water go (since you would expect the hole to fill up eventually).

    Personally, I support splitting (and finding a new image for Waterfall Into The Abyss), if a few more examples can be found.
  • April 12, 2017
    TonyG
    In Adventures Of The Gummi Bears, Gruffi and Tummi are stranded in an island in the middle of a hole in the ocean, surrounded by falling water. Unlike other examples, the water is filling up the hole, threatening to sink the island; our heroes - and a third Gummi, Gusto, who was stranded years before - have to figure out how to get back home before it does.
  • April 12, 2017
    MetaFour
    Yeah, perhaps the trope currently known as Waterfall Into The Abyss should be renamed (something like Waterfall From A Floating Island?), because Waterfall Into The Abyss is a much better title for this trope.
  • April 12, 2017
    Leporidae
    Getta - yes, that was my thought process. If this is a successful launch, I'd like to go to the Image Pickin' thread to find a better picture for Waterfall Into The Abyss, because (in my opinion) the example from One Piece counts as a Circular Waterfall.

    Theriocephalus - I think you're onto something. This boils down to the question of "where does the water come from?" (when a source of water should run out but doesn't) vs. "where does the water go?" (when a huge amount of water is unable to fill what appears to be a finite space).

    TonyG - Thank you for the example. I'll add it to the Western Animation section.

    MetaFour - I'm concerned that changing the name of the current trope to something like Waterfall From A Floating Island could exclude examples that take place on large flat planes/ "flat earth" examples (while something Waterfall Off The Face Of The Earth excludes all the floating island examples).
  • April 21, 2017
    lakingsif
    Yeah, the title made me think of something different. Struggling to think of a better name, though.
  • April 24, 2017
    Leporidae
  • April 25, 2017
    lakingsif
    Plughole Waterfall?
  • April 25, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    Sinkhole Waterfall?
  • May 2, 2017
    hszmv1
    Religous/Myth

    • A Traditional depiction of Moses' parting of the Red Sea is that of two walls of water on either side of the previously submerged path (as seen in both The Ten Commandments and The Prince Of Egypt). Historians believe that the event may have been related to an unusual recession of the sea exposing walk-able land.
    • The Greek Monster featured in the Odyssey is often depicted as either this or a giant whirl pool.

    Real Life

    • The National 9/11 Memorial features two rectangular fountains with a small square waterfall inside the pool of a much larger square waterfall, both of which are set in the foot print of the twin towers.
  • May 2, 2017
    sheika
    • The first room to escape in Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors is an underwater cabin with a broken window. You'd think that the cabin would flood pretty quickly, right? 'Cept that you are not on a timer, so the water doesn't rise until the plot allows it.
  • May 2, 2017
    Leporidae
    hszmv1 - Those depictions of Moses's parting the Red Sea would probably fit better under Giant Wall Of Watery Doom or Making A Splash. If the Greek Monster you're mentioning is Scylla And Charybdis, that's a classic Mega Maelstrom. The 9/11 Memorial fountains are closer to the heart of this trope, so I will add them as an example.

    sheika - I googled what you were talking about because I have never played Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors and I gotta say, a busted porthole with water flowing in is not exactly what I would consider an example of this trope but I'll be damned if it doesn't resemble the criteria I laid out (a round, submerged waterfall that seems to defy the laws of physics) in the way a molehill resembles a mountain. Still not an example.
  • May 4, 2017
    Chabal2
    Dragon Quest IX: Water grottoes use waterfalls as wall decoration, so they can contain up to 16 floors of shallow water that doesn't drain anywhere.
  • May 8, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^ Can you link to a screen shot of one of these grottoes, or a level map? I can't seem to find any good examples. Do the waterfalls cover at least 90% of the dungeon walls?
  • May 8, 2017
    Chabal2
    Closest I can find are these two.
  • May 9, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^ Is this video an example of a grotto level?
  • May 11, 2017
    DustSnitch
    You should clarify why Waterfall Into The Abyss doesn't cover this trope, with something like "Compare Waterfall Into The Abyss, where there are waterfalls coming off of a floating island."
  • May 12, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^ How about: "Sister trope to Waterfall Into The Abyss, in which water cascades from a seemingly inexhaustible source off the side of a Floating Island or the edge of a Flat Land."
  • May 14, 2017
    Chabal2
    ^^^ Yep.
  • May 15, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^ I don't think it's an example of the trope. There are plenty of waterfalls, but they're fairly spaced out and they cover less than half of the surface of the grotto walls.
  • June 8, 2017
    Berrenta
    Unlaunched per Crash Rescue thread, as the name needs improvement.
  • June 9, 2017
    Leporidae
    Alrighty then let's hear some suggestions for better names.
  • June 10, 2017
    DustSnitch
    "A waterfall but like it's falling in a circle."
  • June 10, 2017
    NightShade96
  • June 12, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^^ Not a very good title suggestion.

    ^ I like the way Waterfall To Nowhere sounds poetically, but it doesn't indicate the shape of the falls and I'm concerned that it's nigh on synonymous with Waterfall Into The Abyss. To me at least, "to nowhere" and "into the abyss" are similar enough to be confusing.
  • June 12, 2017
    NightShade96
    Okay then, how about Circular Waterfall To Nowhere?
  • June 12, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    I'll repropose my original suggestion of Sinkhole Waterfall, for what it's worth.
  • June 13, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^^ Better.

    ^ I like how it evokes the rounded quality of sinkholes, but I'm hung up on the fact that sinkholes only occur on dray land (instead of large bodies of water, where the waterfalls in this trope are located). When I picture a sinkhole my mind goes to collapsed roadways and newscopter footage of cars teetering on the edge before falling in.
  • June 16, 2017
    Kakai
    ^ Maybe something like Sea Sinkhole, then? It's like a sinkhole, but on water, after all ("sea" is mostly for alliteration).
  • June 16, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^ I like that much better. Alliteration is a bonus.
  • June 26, 2017
    lakingsif
    And if people don't like that (it's good), adding up my old suggestion of Plughole Waterfall.
  • June 26, 2017
    DustSnitch
    Sea Sinkhole is the best suggestion so far, methinks.
  • June 29, 2017
    Leporidae
    ^^ I worry that using Plughole Waterfall would lead people to associate this trope with Down The Drain. The word "plughole" make me think of kitchen sinks and bathtubs and drains.
  • June 29, 2017
    Xtifr
    I fail to see how this is fundamentally different from the same thing but hexagonal or pentagonal or square or ovoid or tear-shaped....

    The basic idea seems to be that there's a hole in the middle of a body of water. The exact shape of the hole shouldn't matter.

    (And does it have to be water? I think Battle For Wesnoth has this for lava.)
  • June 30, 2017
    lakingsif
    ^you are... completely out of the loop... go read the comments, bro
  • July 7, 2017
    Leporidae
    Alright, I've made up a crowner with the suggested alternate names on them. Link is at the top of the page.
  • July 10, 2017
    Leporidae
    Bump for title crowner.
  • July 14, 2017
    Leporidae
    Last bump for the title crowner - I'm sure folks are sick of seeing this pop up in the TLP.

    As it stands, "Sea Sinkhole" is three votes in the green, "Sinkhole Waterfall" is one vote in the green, while "Plughole Waterfall" and "Waterfall to Nowhere" have no votes. "Circular Waterfall to Nowhere" has one negative vote.
  • July 24, 2017
    Leporidae
    Alright, not much progress on the title crowner since the 14th. Seeing as it's been two weeks since the crowner was set up, I think it's time to call it. "Sea Sinkhole" has the most positive votes: as such, I'll rechristen "Circular Waterfall" to "Sea Sinkhole" and launch (again).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qttps46g7ytaswt5t9bkbob0