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.

1. A sinkhole that first appeared in July after the collapse of the surface layer and grew larger as days went by, photographed in the village of Pinzon de Morado, in Guerrero state, Mexico, on August 26, 2018. The state government reported that work done in a mine that operated in the area 10 years ago caused the hole.
Francisco Robles / AFP / Getty
2. The rear portion of a residential home is consumed by a sinkhole in Dunedin, Florida, on November 14, 2013. According to reports, the hole began to form between two houses the morning of November 14, and grew to about 30 feet wide by 30 feet deep.
Luke Johnson / Getty
3. A massive sinkhole caused by the rains of Tropical Storm Agatha is seen in Guatemala City on May 31, 2010.
Casa Presidencial / Reuters
4. Cars lie in a sinkhole that opened up beneath the Skydome showroom in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on February 12, 2014.
Michael Noble Jr. / AP
5. A vanished pond in Bosnia. People gather around a huge sinkhole in the village of Sanica, Bosnia, on November 21, 2013. Only weeks before, the spot was a pond full of fish and floating green algae, lined with old willow and plum trees, and a grass field where cattle used to peacefully graze. The pond was some 20 meters in diameter. Now the "abyss," as the villagers named the sinkhole, is some 50 meters wide and 30 meters deep.
Amel Emric / AP
6. A huge sinkhole in the village of Sanica, Bosnia, where a pond sat only weeks before, photographed on November 21, 2013.
Amel Emric / AP
7. Women view a car with its front end in a sinkhole, in Philadelphia, on July 30, 2013. PVI-TV reported that the sinkhole had opened up overnight on a street in the city's Hunting Park section, with no injuries reported. There was no word on what caused the sinkhole.
Matt Rourke / AP
8. A man examines a 40-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up under the bed of a pensioner in Guatemala City on July 19, 2011. Inocenta del Rosal Hernandez, 65, awoke to a loud boom and found the earth under her bed had imploded, creating a circular hole.
Jorge Lopez / Reuters
9. Rescuers work at the scene of a landslide in Saint-Jude, Quebec, as shown from the air on May 11, 2010. A family of four was killed after a sinkhole triggered by the landslide swallowed their house northeast of Montreal.
Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press / AP
10. Concrete is poured into a sinkhole in the driveway of a house in Walters Ash, England, on February 6, 2014. The hole swallowed a car—which was not recovered—and the nine-meter-deep crater was filled with 300 tons of concrete.
Eddie Keogh / Reuters
11. Workers from Dave's Truck Repair try to figure out how to tow a waste-disposal truck out of a sinkhole after a road collapsed in North Guilford Hills, near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on June 20, 1997. The truck was on its regular route when the road gave way, startling area neighbors. The driver and a passenger were not injured.
Christopher Shatzer / AP
12. A huge sinkhole opened beneath an intersection near Hakata Station, in Fukuoka, Japan, on November 8, 2016.
Kyodo / Reuters
13. A collapsed paved sidewalk, photographed on North End Road in London on April 23, 2015. A woman allegedly fell down the hole when a the pavement gave way without warning.
Barcroft Media via Getty
14. A view of a sinkhole that opened a few days earlier in Natal, Brazil, on June 22, 2014. The hole, caused by recent rains, swallowed cars and damaged the homes of 150 families living in a poor neighborhood.
Antonio Calanni / AP
15. A giant sinkhole that swallowed several homes is photographed in Guatemala City on February 23, 2007.
16. A house on Barry Road, near the Martha Gold Mine company offices, collapsed into a huge hole measuring 50 meters wide by 15 meters deep in the small town of Waihi, on the North Island of New Zealand, on December 13, 2001. A family of five, including three young children, escaped serious injury despite their home crashing into a chasm created by an old mine shaft collapsing in the middle of the night.
Dean Purcell / AP
17. Workers are lowered by a crane as they try to rescue a vehicle that drove into a sinkhole that opened up on a highway in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on July 12, 2017.
Tony Rivera / AP
18. Water pours into a sinkhole beneath an intersection in downtown Mexico City on August 31, 2017.
Eduardo Verdugo / AP
19. One of many sinkholes in Israel's abandoned tourist resort of Ein Gedi, on the shore of the Dead Sea, photographed on July 11, 2016. Experts have warned that the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest body of water in the world, is on course to dry out by 2050, with the emergence of sinkholes forcing the closure of roads and beaches, as well as damaging agriculture.
Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty
20. People look at a tanker after it fell into a caved-in area on a road in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, on July 27, 2013.
21. Workers use cement to fill in part of a road that caved in in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on February 11, 2015. No one was injured when the area collapsed due to a fault in the construction of a subway line, local media reported.
22. People look at a partially collapsed complex of buildings over a sinkhole at Summer Bay Resort near Disney World on August 12, 2013, in Clermont, Florida.
Gerardo Mora / Getty
23. People gather near the scene where two vehicles fell into a sinkhole on a street in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, on August 4, 2018.
24. A man leans forward to peer into a sinkhole that appeared under his fish pond in Guiping, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on March 29, 2016.