A sinkhole occurs when an area of ground collapses, creating holes that can swallow up swimming pools, roads, buildings and people. The United States Geological Survey describes three different categories of sinkholes based on how they are created: dissolution, cover-subsidence and cover-collapse sinkholes.
In all three, erosion of land is caused by minerals washed away by water over time.
The most dangerous type of sink hole, and the ones we usually see in the news, are cover-collapse sink holes. The erosion of land occurs underground, creating a cavity under streets, sidewalks or buildings. Eventually the ground suddenly collapses since there’s nothing underneath holding it up.
Here are some of the most incredible examples of sudden sinkholes.
The Qattara Depression in Egypt: Located west of Cairo, this massive dent is 440 feet below sea level at its lowest point, with a length of 186 miles and a width of 95 miles.
The 2007 Guatemala City Sinkhole: This sink hole was large enough to swallow up about a dozen homes which fell 330 feet down into the hole.
The 2010 Guatemala City Sinkhole: In 2010 another sinkhole opened up In Guatemala City. It is about 60 feet wide and 30 stories deep.
Texas Devil's Sinkhole: Now home to millions of bats this cavernous sinkhole has a 40 by 60 foot opening, and is 400 feet deep.
The Sarisarinama Sinkholes: Multiple sinkholes are present in Sarisarinama, Venezuela, each one measures about 1,000 feet wide and 350 meters deep.
The Bimmah Sinkhole: Located in Oman, this sinkhole about 65 feet deep has become a popular tourist attraction where people can go swimming.
The Daisetta Sinkhole: This massive sinkhole in Texas measures 900 feet across and 260 feet deep. It swallowed up oil tanks and barrels, tires, telephone poles and several vehicles.
Winter Park Sinkhole: This Florida sinkhole swallowed up sports cars and a community pool with its massive 350 foot wide opening and 107 foot depth.
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