Striking sinkholes: Earth opens up

A look at some of the most amazing sinkholes around the world.

People look at a partially collapsed building over a sinkhole at Summer Bay Resort near Disney World on August 12 in Clermont, Florida. The 40 to 60 foot sinkhole opened up under the resort building reportedly begining late August 11 into early August 12. There were no injuries or deaths reported.

Gerardo Mora / Getty Images North America

This photo provided by the Toledo, Ohio Fire and Rescue Department shows a car at the bottom of a sinkhole caused by a broken water line in Toledo, Ohio on July 3.. Police say the driver, 60-year-old Pamela Knox of Toledo, was shaken up and didn't appear hurt but was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld

Caver David Ochel starts the 75 foot rope climb to the surface from the middle level of the Seco Sinkhole in Medina County. The main body of the cave, another 75 foot drop from this landing area, is accessed from another large vertical column hidden in the darkness behind the cavers standing on the ground. The sinkhole and associated cave, located on a private ranch in Medina County, are one of the largest recharge features in the Edwards Aquifer and is protected by a conservation easement.

William Luther / San Antonio Express-News

A handout picture provided by the Guatemalan Presidency on June 1, 2010, shows a sinkhole created by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on May 29, 2010.

Luis Echeverria / EFE/PRESIDENCY/HO

State regulators' "worst nightmare" happened in June 1994 when a cavernous hole, 106 feet wide by 185 feet deep, opened in the center of an IMC-Agrico waste stack near Mulberry, Fla., like a scene out of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth." The sinkhole, shown here in a photo taken July 13, 1994, at IMC-Agrico's New Wales plant, released 20.8 million pounds of liquid phosphoric acid into the ground below. The company was able to clean up the spill before it harmed the drinking water supply, regulators say.

Selbypic / SELBYPIC

A car sits in a giant sinkhole in Duluth, Minn., on June 20, 2012. 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.

Brian Peterson

A man inspects a sinkhole inside a house on July 19, 2011, north of Guatemala City. When neighbors heard the loud boom overnight, they thought a cooking gas canister had detonated. Instead they found a deep sinkhole the size of a large pot inside a home in a neighborhood just north of Guatemala City. The sinkhole was 40 feet deep and 32 inches in diameter, an AFP journalist who visited the site reported. Because Guatemala City is built on volcanic deposits, the city is especially prone to sinkholes. The holes are often linked to a leaky sewer system or heavy rain.

Johan Ordonez / AFP

John Sparkman is dwarfed as he looks into a sinkhole near Picher, Okla., on April 6, 2008. Years of lead and zinc mining have turned the town into a Superfund site with sinkholes, lead-laced mountains of rock and tainted water.

Charlie Riedel / AP

A utility worker examines a sinkhole that arose when a broken water main led to the collapse of part of Friendship Blvd. on Dec. 3, 2010, in Chevy Chase, Md. No one was reported injured in the resulting car accident.

Logan Mock-Bunting / Getty Images North America

A local resident throws a stone into a sinkhole near Qingquan primary school in the town of Daichengqiao in Hunan province, on June 15, 2010. The hole, 492 feet wide and 164 feet deep, destroyed at least 20 houses. No casualties were reported and the reason for the appearance of the hole was unclear, local media reported.

© Stringer Shanghai / Reuters / X01984

A sinkhole gapes in Richmond, Va., on Aug. 31, 2004. The collapse was caused by heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston. The unexpected downpour led to widespread flooding that left at least five dead and devastated a historic neighborhood.

Mark Gormus

A Los Angeles fireman looks under a fire truck stuck in a sinkhole in the Valley Village neighborhood of Los Angeles on Sept. 8, 2009. Four firefighters escaped injury when their fire engine sunk into a large hole caused by a burst water main in the San Fernando Valley, authorities said.

Nick Ut / AP

This picture taken on Jan. 28, 2013, shows workers using machinery to fill in a sinkhole that buildings collapsed into near a subway construction site in Guangzhou, in south China's Guangdong province. 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.

Str / AFP

A massive sinkhole near Daisetta, Texas, is seen on May 7, 2008. The sinkhole swallowed up oil field equipment and some vehicles in southeastern Texas.

James Nielsen / Houston Chronicle

Workers use excavators to fill in a sinkhole that opened up overnight on Shiliuzhuang Road in Beijing on April 26, 2011. A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle before it sank into the hole. Authorities suspected that the hole was caused by the construction of a subway line.

Str / AFP

A massive 200-by-240-foot landslide opens up and tears apart the pavement of Soledad Mountain Road on Oct. 3, 2007, in the Mount Soledad neighborhood of La Jolla near San Diego. The landslide damaged or destroyed six homes and forced the evacuation of at least 20 others.

Kent Horner / Getty Images North America

Rescuers dug through tons of rubble in search of as many as seven people who were buried inside a giant sinkhole that opened at a construction site in South America's biggest city. Brazilian officials said a passenger minivan fell to the bottom of a 130-foot-deep pit dug to facilitate delivery of supplies for workers building an underground railway line. The lip of the hole gave way to a landslide. Vehicles on a roadway around the edge fell into the chasm and were covered by tons of earth, asphalt and concrete.

Mauricio Lima / AFP

In this Dec. 26, 2012, photo, the area around a sinkhole in the middle of a road junction is cordoned off in downtown Taiyuan, in northern China's Shanxi province. No one was reported injured.


This aerial view shows a large sinkhole in Winter Park, Fla., on May 11, 1981, as workers try to retrieve sunken sports cars from the depression.

Anonymous / AP