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sinkholes

Sinkhole
Image: National Geographic/Justin Lewis

Sinkhole

One minute a building sits on its lot, the next it sits at the bottom of a 100-foot hole. It is the victim of a sinkhole, an area where surface water has penetrated soft rock (often limestone), dissolved it, and made the overlying surface so unstable that it collapses.

Sinkholes occur naturally and also come about as a result of road building and other types of construction. Find out more.

National Geographic
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Explore Mexico’s Cenotes

Explore Mexico’s Cenotes

Formed when the roof of a cavern collapsed, a cenote is a pool-filled sinkhole in the Yucatán Peninsula limestone. Are these formations entrances to the underworld, as the Maya believed? Take a look. More...

Images
Travel Channel
Karst Topography: A Unique and Fragile Environment

Karst Topography: A Unique and Fragile Environment

Watch how karst areas, or regions of irregular limestone, can form sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns with fragile ecosystems. More...

Video
Middle Tennessee State University
An Interactive Look at Karst

An Interactive Look at Karst

Groundwater dissolves sedimentary rock to create the porous structure of karst topography. Underground pools, streams, and caves are some of the features, along with sinkholes at the surface. More...

Interactive
Watersheds.org
Guillermo de Anda, Underwater Archaeologist

Guillermo de Anda, Underwater Archaeologist

Underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda descends hundreds of feet into remote flooded caves dotting the Yucatán Peninsula landscape. Find out the human stories he’s searching for. More...

Profile
National Geographic
Karst Topography Paper Model

Karst Topography Paper Model

Karst formations occur when water reacts with soluble rock. Caves and caverns often form in the process. Build your own paper models of karst cave formations. More...

Activity
U.S. Geological Survey
Sinkhole Science: A Primer

Sinkhole Science: A Primer

Sinkholes come in two basic types, based on the kind of surface that covers an underground hole. Subsidence-cover sinkholes tend to give a warning, while collapse-cover sinkholes often don’t, with potentially disastrous results. More...

Article
National Geographic
Sinkhole Swallows Whole Building Complex in China

Sinkhole Swallows Whole Building Complex in China

Watch this short video to see a sinkhole claim a whole building complex in Guangzhou, China’s third largest city. Nearby construction might have contributed to the collapse. More...

Video
The Telegraph
Sinkholes Around the World

Sinkholes Around the World

Sinkholes occur around the world, but some areas are more prone to them due to local geology. Click through this slideshow of mammoth international sinkholes. More...

Images
CS Monitor
The Abnormally Normal Science of Sinkholes

The Abnormally Normal Science of Sinkholes

Where there’s one sinkhole there probably are others. Sinkholes often occur in areas of karst topography, which means that the underlying rock is porous limestone. Hydrologist Lewis Land explains in more detail. More...

Profile
NPR

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