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Insane Photos of Sinkholes

La Jolla sinkhole

A massive landslide, measuring 200 feet by 240 feet (60 by 73 meters), opened up on Oct. 3, 2007, near San Diego, California. The landslide tore apart the pavement on Soledad Mountain Road in La Jolla's Mount Soledad neighborhood.

(Image credit: Kent Horner/Getty Images)

Another view of the sinkhole that was ripped open by a massive landslide in La Jolla, California, on Oct. 3, 2007.

Swallowing up street

A sinkhole opened up near the Woodhill Apartments in Orlando, Florida, on June 11, 2002. Shown here on June 12, the sinkhole measured 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep (45 by 18 meters).

(Image credit: Chris Livingston/Getty Images)

A sinkhole opened up near the Woodhill Apartments in Orlando, Florida, on June 11, 2002. Shown here on June 12, the sinkhole measured 150 feet wide and 60 feet deep (45 by 18 meters). It reportedly swallowed trees, pipelines and some of the sidewalk.

Closing Brooklyn streets

A massive sinkhole emerged in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on Aug. 4, 2015.

(Image credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com)

A massive sinkhole emerged in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on Aug. 4, 2015. Several emergency and municipal departments responded, including the New York Fire Department and Con Ed.

Next up, sinkholes that are so gorgeous they don't look real...

Swallow Holes

Bimmah Sinkhole

(Image credit: francesina1 | flickr)

Sinkholes, also known as shake holes or swallow holes, occur when water seeps into solid bedrock and erodes it to the point that an underground cavity forms. When this cavity collapses, it forms a crater-like depression. Sinkholes occur all over the world — in jungles as well as cities — and can appear suddenly or gradually. The Bimmah Sinkhole, above, is located on the coast of Oman, an Arab state in the Arabian Peninsula.

Tropical Sinkhole

tropical sinkhole

(Image credit: Adrian Lewart | Dreamstime)

In geologic terms, a sinkhole happens as a result of the karst processes, or the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks. Carbonate rocks, such as limestone, are porous to varying degrees because they contain tiny holes that can absorb water. Too much absorption of fluid can cause the rock to give way and create a hole in the surface topography. This tropical sinkhole, captured from the bottom looking up to its surface, is in Yucatan, Mexico. Over time, vegetation has grown over the mouth of the sinkhole.

Scenic Cenote

Cenote Dzitnup

(Image credit: Nataliya Hora | Dreamstime)

Cenote Dzitnup is also located in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Underground, freshwater-filled sinkholes with openings shinning through at the top like this one are known as cenotes in Mexico and Central America.

The Sinkhole of Red Lake

the Red Lake sinkhole of Imotski, Croatia

(Image credit: Dreamstime)

Located in the city of Imotski, Croatia, the Red Lake is named for the reddish-brown color of the iron oxides in its surrounding cliffs. The pit, which has become a lake, is lined with nearly vertical walls. As one of the largest sinkholes in the world, it is about 1,700 feet (530 m) deep.

Montezuma Well Sinkhole

Montezuma Well Sinkhole

(Image credit: Alexey Stiop | Dreamstime)

Although it's known as the Montezuma Well Sinkhole, this sinkhole, located in Arizona's Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde, Ariz., looks more like a lake than a well. The indents on the land's surface formed by sinkholes can look like hollow craters or fill up with water and become lakes or ponds, depending on surrounding geological conditions.

Mount Gambier Sinkhole

Mount Gambier Sinkhole

(Image credit: Grazia Torsiello)

This massive sinkhole is located in Mount Gambier, South Australia, and was formed by acidic groundwater eroding the area's porous limestone. The region contains many water-filled caves and sinkholes, but the Mount Gambier sinkhole has become an Australian landmark, and was even turned into a beautiful recreational garden for the general public and tourists.

The Devil's Hole

Devil's Hole in Hawthorne, Fla.

(Image credit: Mason Berry | public domain)

Yet another sinkhole with a demonic name, the Devil's Hole in Hawthorne, Fla., is about 100 feet (30 meters) deep. It’s also known as the Devil's sink and is a popular spot for locals and even has a rope swing and two jumping platforms. Originally the site of a limestone dig, the sinkhole has an underwater entrance leading to a cave system that few divers dare to explore.