Foiba (plural: foibas or foibe) is a type of deep natural sinkhole, doline, sink and is a collapsed portion of bedrock above a void. Sinks may be a sheer vertical opening into a cave, or a shallow depression of many acres which are common in the Kras (Carso) region, a karstic plateau region shared by Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.
The term "foiba" was used in 1770s by Italian naturalist Alberto Fortis who wrote a number of books about karst of Dalmatia. It is an Italian corruption of the Latin fovea, meaning pit or chasm. They are indeed chasms excavated by water erosion, have the shape of an inverted funnel, and can be up to 200 metres deep. Such formations number in the hundreds in Istria.
In Carso areas, a doline, sink or sinkhole is a closed depression draining underground. It can be cylindrical, conical, bowl-shaped or dish-shaped. The diameter ranges from a few to many hundreds of metres. The name doline comes from "dolina", the Slovenian word for this very common feature. The term "foiba" may also refer to a deep wide chasm of a river at the place where in goes under ground.
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