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

  • Chip Somodevilla / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Ice Castles, Northern Lights, Inauguration Fireworks

    Fashion Week in Berlin, the departure of former President Donald Trump, bull-taming in India, a snow-covered Great Wall in China, diploma artwork in New York City, and much more

  • Andrew Harnik / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    Scenes from a unique moment in American history

  • Samuel Corum / Getty

    An Inauguration Like No Other

    Rehearsals and preparations are underway for the upcoming inaugural ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris.

  • David Delgado / Reuters

    Photos: A Little Midwinter Fun and Beauty

    Recent images of people across the Northern Hemisphere enjoying themselves in the middle of this winter