A sinkhole is a depression or hole in the ground caused by the slow, natural process of erosion that occur when water erodes solid bedrock, creating an underground cavity that collapses inward, or caused by karst processes. Though most sinkholes are only 10 to 12 feet in diameter, they have been known to expand to hundreds of feet in diameter and vary in form from soil-lined bowls to bedrock-edged chasms. Sinkholes may be formed gradually or suddenly, and are found worldwide. Many of central and north Florida’s lakes actually are the result of old sinkholes.
Recently increasing number of sinkholes has been reported worldwide, mainly coming from Florida, and U.S., where in the entire state is mostly karst terrain (made of limestone), making them a sinkhole prone area. Some of the world’s most tremendous sinkholes are seemingly endless pits swallowing trees, cars, houses and entire buildings — dangerously altering the landscape. Others filled with water, becoming popular swimming hole-like-beaches. Regardless of how you define them, these massive holes capture everyone’s curiosity with the mysteries of their bottomless depths.
1. The Great Blue Hole is an enormous submarine sinkhole that is located off the coast of Belize. To the untrained eye, this dark depression looks almost perfectly circular in shape
2. A man inspects a sinkhole formed in a house this week in the north of Guatemala City. When neighbours heard the loud boom overnight they thought a cooking gas canister had detonated
3. A giant sinkhole caused by the rains of Tropical Storm Agatha is seen in Guatemala City on May 31, 2010. More than 94,000 people were evacuated as the storm buried homes under mud, swept away a highway bridge near Guatemala City and opened up sinkholes in the capital.
4. An aerial view of the damaged Gran Marical de Ayacucho highway in the state of Miranda outside Caracas December 1, 2010. Thousands of Venezuelans fled their homes after landslides and swollen rivers killed at least 21 people and threatened to cause more damage.
5. A helicopter hovers over a sinkhole that’s 120-feet wide and 180-feet deep in a gypsum stack at IMC-Agrico’s New Wales plant, southwest of Mulberry, Fla., on June 29, 1994.
6. A home sits near a sinkhole, about 100-feet wide and 50-feet deep, Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Windermere, Fla. The family was forced to evacuate the home.
7. A car sits in a giant sinkhole in Duluth, Minn. Wednesday, June 20, 2011. Residents evacuated their homes and animals escaped from pens at a zoo as floods fed by a steady torrential downpour struck northeastern Minnesota, inundating the city of Duluth, officials said Wednesday.
8. A Lochearn woman peers into an approximately 10 foot by 10 foot sinkhole that appeared in her driveway in March 2003. In the photo, a pump is removing water from the hole.
9. Workers use machinery to fill in a sinkhole that buildings collapsed into near a subway construction site in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province on January 28, 2013. The hole measured about 1,000 square feet across and was around 30 feet deep, but no one was killed, according to a state media report.
10. Policemen check a collapsed section of a crossroad in Hefei, Anhui province August 8, 2009. A taxi and a few motorbikes fell into the hole, local media reported.
11. A sinkhole which damaged an on-ramp to Interstate 15 in San Diego on February 24 continues to grow February 25, 1998. The hole was caused by a drainage pipe which burst due to heavy rains attributed to El Nino weather patterns and is approximately eight hundred feet long, forty feet wide, and seventy feet deep.
12. An aerial view shows the debris of a residential building and a destroyed road in the village of Nachterstedt, July 18, 2009. Three residents were missing in the eastern German village of Nachterstedt after their lakeside home and another building suddenly collapsed early Saturday into the water. A 350-metre stretch of shoreline gave way next to an old open-cast coalmine converted to a lake, about 170 kilometres south-west of Berlin.
13. People stand by a recent caved-in area on a paddy field in Fukou county, Hunan province, January 12, 2013. More than 20 pits formed from the sunken ground surface in Fukou county during the past four months. According to the local media, the government’s initial investigation showed years of mining destroyed the local underground water systems and led to the numerous cave-ins.
14. Rescue workers remove a bus with a crane from a Lisbon street hole November 25, 2003. The bus was parked on a Lisbon street when the ground began to open up and gobble it. No casualties were registed.
15. A truck is seen in a hole after part of the structure of a bridge collapsed into a river in Changchun, Jilin province May 29, 2011. Two truck passengers were injured, while the cause of the accident is still under investigation, local media reported.
16. A giant sinkhole that swallowed several homes is seen in Guatemala City February 23, 2007. At least three people have been confirmed missing, officials said.
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