For whatever reason, sinkholes were pretty prevalent all throughout the world in 2016. Sinkholes are quite scary! Think about it…you’re driving on the road like you would any other time of the day, and all of a sudden a giant hole just opens up in the ground and sucks whatever it can down into it. When it comes to sinkholes, there is no estimate of how far down they can reach.

But what is a sinkhole? And how do they happen? Luckily, we have some answers for you, so read up and learn all about sinkholes right here!

Sinkholes can happen in two ways. First, they can be man-made sinkholes. Man-made sinkholes aren’t caused on purpose, naturally, but result from human activity. This causes revolve around activities such as mining, drilling, and general construction projects, or even damaged drain pipes. These sinkholes can be both large and small depending on what caused the sinkhole in the first place. It might also be the case in some situations where no work was being done or had been done, and a sinkhole happened. In these types of cases the ground is usually already  naturally soft and a sinkhole can form when there is too much weight from cars in the area.

Natural sinkholes are a bit different for a number of reasons. First and foremost, natural sinkholes result from natural erosion or changing groundwater over a period of time. These really can’t be avoided because they start years or even decades before a sinkhole occurs. Over time, the ground we walk on and drive on everyday changes and it changes naturally. The water that is beneath our sidewalks and roads has always had water beneath it, which can erode what we thought was a solid surface. Enough erosion due to things like natural groundwater causes the surface of the earth to collapse in on itself, which explains natural sinkholes.