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Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up

The ground beneath our feet, our highways, and our cities appears to be very sturdy.

  • Alan Taylor
  • The Atlantic

But, on rare occasions, that solid ground can simply open up without warning, dropping whatever it was supporting into an unpredictably deep hole.

TOPSHOT - Picture taken on August 26, 2018 of a sinkhole which first appeared in July after the collapse of the surface layer and grew bigger as days went by, in the village of Pinzon de Morado, municipality of Coyuca de Catalan, Guerrero State, Mexico. - The State government reported that the hole was caused by works done in a mine that operated in the area ten years ago. (Photo by FRANCISCO ROBLES / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP/Getty Images)

An undiscovered cavern or abandoned mine might collapse, or a broken water main or heavy storm might cause erosion, until the surface becomes a thin shell that drops away all at once.

Sinkholes can be anywhere from a few feet wide and deep, to 2,000 feet in diameter and depth.

Collected below are images of some of these sinkholes, both man-made and natural, around the…

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