Sinkholes: When the Earth Opens Up

The ground beneath our feet, our highways, and our cities appears to be very sturdy. But, on rare occasions, that solid ground can simply open up without warning, dropping whatever it was supporting into an unpredictably deep hole. 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 world.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • AFP / Getty

    The Aftermath of the Beirut Explosion

    Images of the widespread damage in Beirut, a day after the devastating blast

  • Karim Sokhn via Reuters

    Photos: Massive Explosion Hits Beirut Port

    A fire in a structure near the port area of Beirut, Lebanon, led to an enormous explosion that shook the city. The shockwave from the blast destroyed buildings close by and shattered glass for miles around.

  • Don Emmert / AFP / Getty

    New Jersey: Images of the Garden State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of New Jersey, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • John Thys / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Stari Most, Flaming Jet, Hug Kit

    An open-air school in Kashmir, a Comic-Con blood drive in California, a successful Mars-rover launch, a sparsely attended Hajj in Saudi Arabia, a farewell to the late U.S. Representative John Lewis, and much more.