The terms snake hole, swallow hole, sink, swallet, or doline are often used interchangeably but they all refer to the same thing – sinkholes. Those who have experienced this phenomenon were probably shocked to wake up one morning and find (if lucky) a big hole where their lawn used to be. Sinkholes can be found all over the world and can develop gradually or suddenly with no warning whatsoever. Take a look at our 25 most devastating sinkholes ever so you can understand the monstrosity of these occurrences.
Located in West Cairo, Egypt the Qattara Depression is the largest natural sinkhole in the world measuring 50 miles long by 75 miles wide. It is a 100% natural by-product of fierce which tear into the slimy salt beds right down to the water table. Due to its sheer size, scientists are attempting to develop a massive hydroelectric project that would harness the sinkhole’s hydroelectric energy potential. The plan for this project would require digging a ditch from the sinkhole’s edge to the Mediterranean and allowing the channeled water to fall into the sinkhole while passing through a series of hydro-electric penstocks thus creating energy.
Located between Adelaide and Melbourne in South East Australia, Mount Gambier is known for its geographical features such as water channels, caves, volcanic rocks, and the famous Blue Lake. Nicknamed “The city of craters”, its volcanic craters are actually naturally-occurring sinkholes that are filled with water thus creating gorgeous scenery.
The sinkhole in Berezniki, Soviet Russia began in 1986 as a result of a flooding event in a potash mine and has gradually worsened each passing year. At over 200m deep, 80m long and 40m wide, it is expected to swallow up the only rail line that leads to and from the potash mines, where 10% of the world’s potash used in fertilizer come from.
Due to the weakening of the karst (a type of bedrock) in an urbanized area of South Florida, the ground gave way to a sizable sinkhole. The 20 feet wide by 10 feet deep sinkhole opened up near the University of South Florida in Tampa, swallowing a car and threatening a nearby condo. Eleven people were evacuated from the condo but thankfully no one was hurt (except for the car).
Guatemala City 2007
In late February 2007, residents of Guatemala City heard some rumbling underneath them but were not sure what was happening until instantly a near-perfect circle of earth dropped some 30 stories. The sink hole killed two and forced the evacuation of over 1,000 people. Authorities believed that the sinkhole was the result of a corroded sewage system deep beneath the surface.