The sudden nightmare of sinkholes swallows cars and homes and can cause the loss of life. The phenomena occurs due to erosion beneath the surface, causing a collapse, for many reasons including flooding and heavy rain, excessive water pumping, water main breaks, earthquakes and construction.
Here, a giant sinkhole caused by the rains of Tropical Storm Agatha is seen in Guatemala City, May 31, 2010.
More than 94,000 people were evacuated as the storm buried homes under mud, swept away a highway bridge near Guatemala City and opened up sinkholes in the capital.
Credit: Casa Presidencial/Handout/REUTERS
A giant sinkhole that opened up in a Land O' Lakes, Florida, neighborhood on July 14, 2017, had swallowed seven homes by Aug. 7.
The sinkhole was about 260 feet wide at its widest point.
Southern California Sinkhole
A 20-foot-deep sinkhole opened up and swallowed two vehicles in Los Angeles after a powerful storm hit Southern California in February 2017.
Credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
A 20-foot deep sinkhole swallowed parts of two residential yards in a Philadelphia suburb in January 2017.
The hole also swallowed part of a sidewalk and nearly claimed a pickup truck. Authorities said nobody was hurt, and there was no obvious cause for the sinkhole to open.
Credit: Emily Casher Loomis/AP
San Antonio sinkhole
A female off-duty sheriff's deputy was killed and two other people were hurt when two vehicles plunged into a water-filled sinkhole in San Antonio, Texas, December 4, 2016.
Officials said the sinkhole opened after a sewer line ruptured during heavy rains the day before.
St. Louis sinkhole
A sinkhole opened up and swallowed a parked car in downtown St. Louis in June 2017.
The car's owners told CBS affiliate KMOV-TV that they were returning from a gym when they found their car in the crater. A crane was used to remove the vehicle. No one was injured in the collapse.
The left photo shows a giant sinkhole, measuring around 98 feet wide and 50 feet deep. It appeared in a five-lane street, in the middle of the Japanese city of Fukuoka on Nov. 8, 2016
The right photo shows the repaired road just one week later. Crews worked around the clock for to fix the gaping hole in the busy street, inspiring awe on social media.
Credit: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
A large sinkhole on the Mosaic Co. property is shown in this aerial photo Thursday, September 29, 2016, in Mulberry, Florida.
Neighbors of the huge sinkhole sending cascades of contaminated water and fertilizer plant waste into Florida's main drinking-water aquifer are fearful and fuming that it took weeks for them to be notified about the disaster. Many are still waiting anxiously for results from tests for radiation and toxic chemicals in their well water.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
Water continues to flow into a large sinkhole on the Mosaic Co. property shown in this aerial photo Thursday, September 29, 2016, in Mulberry, Florida.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara
The 55,000-pound excavation truck wasn't in the area for a wash, but it may need one after being partially swallowed by a sinkhole near a car wash in north Georgia.
The incident took place at the Diamond Auto Spa on Wallis Road in Hall County, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, CBS affiliate WGCL reported.
Credit: CBS affiliate WGCL
People look at a loaded truck that got stuck in a sinkhole on a road in Guilin, China, January 7, 2015.
No injury was reported, according to local media.
Guatemala City sinkhole
A giant sinkhole caused by the rains of tropical storm Agatha is seen in Guatemala City, June 1, 2010.
Collapsed roads and highway bridges complicated rescue efforts in Guatemala after Tropical Storm Agatha drenched Central America, burying homes under mud and killing at least 175 people.
Credit: Daniel LeClair/REUTERS
Pamela Knox waits for rescue after a massive sinkhole opened up underneath her car in Toledo, Ohio on July 3, 2013. Toledo firefighters later rescued Knox without major injuries. Fire officials told a local TV station that a water main break caused the large hole.
Credit: Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld/Toledo Fire and Rescue/Handout via Reuters
Water can be seen in a large sinkhole that formed on Rideau Street next to the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa, Ontario on June 8, 2016.
A mall and buildings around a major intersection near Parliament have been evacuated because of the sinkhole.
A van fell into the sinkhole but there were no reports of injuries.
Credit: Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP
An SUV is swallowed by a giant sinkhole on Beaubien at Smith on Detroit's northeast side on Aug. 18, 2011.
Police say a woman was trying to drive slowly through water when her SUV failed to gain traction. Under the water, a sinkhole opened up. The driver, her daughter and granddaughter all escaped without serious injury. The SUV then sank further.
Credit: Ricardo Thomas/Detroit News/AP
A gaping sinkhole opened in the bottom of a pool at the home of Brad Thelen in Erwin, Tennessee, on the evening of Dec. 7, 2011, draining the family's swimming pool.
By the next day, it had tripled in size and was not far from the Thelans' home. The family removed valuables and was staying with relatives until the sinkhole stabilized.
Credit: Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press/AP
A building at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, Florida, shows damage from collapsing into a sinkhole early Aug. 12, 2013.
About 30 percent of the three-story structure collapsed. The villa at the Summer Bay Resort had already been evacuated and no injuries were reported.
Credit: Alma Rodriquez/AP
Los Angeles sinkhole
A 22-ton Los Angeles Fire Department fire truck protrudes from a sinkhole on September 8, 2009 in the Valley Village neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Firefighters were dispatched to investigate an early morning call about flooding on a residential street when the driver saw a large amount of water in the darkness. The driver was backing up when the truck fell into the sinkhole, apparently caused by a broken 6-inch cast iron pipe. The firefighters were not hurt in the accident.
Credit: David McNew/Getty Images
A man at Taichung Port in Taiwan looks at a quake-opened sinkhole, September 25, 1999, that is filled with molasses spilled from nearby storage tanks destroyed in the September 21 earthquake.
Credit: Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images
A sinkhole is seen near the Ein Gedi Spa on the shores of the Dead Sea on September 10, 2008.
As Israeli holiday makers watch the Dead Sea retreating, massive sinkholes have been left in its wake.
Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
A sinkhole swallowed three cars on the Southeast Side of Chicago on April 18, 2013, injuring one person. The injured man was driving when the road buckled and caved in. The other two vehicles were parked when the sinkhole opened.
Sinkholes occur due to erosion beneath the surface, as when sand falls into underlying cavities, causing the surface to collapse. Flooding and heavy rain, excessive water pumping, water main breaks, earthquakes and construction can all contribute to sinkholes.
Credit: Mike Krauser/WBBM Newsradio
A car sits in a sinkhole caused by a broken water main, which collapsed part of Friendship Blvd on December 3, 2010 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. No one was reported injured in the accident.
Credit: Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images
A large sinkhole first appeared Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in Northern California.
A 15-foot section of a cliffside trail just dropped away into the ocean in Pacifica, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reported. The trail is off limits as crews pump concrete and sand into the massive sinkhole.
This is only the latest effort to stop erosion of the cliff here that has been falling away for decades.
Credit: CBS News
Dead Sea Sinkhole
An aerial view photo shows sinkholes created by the drying of the Dead Sea, near Kibbutz Ein Gedi, on November 10, 2011.
Credit: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images
A sinkhole opens up in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after the city was soaked by seven and a half inches of rain, July 23, 2010.
A car sits in a giant sinkhole in Duluth, Minnesota, on June 20, 2011.
Residents evacuated their homes and animals escaped from pens at a zoo as floods fed by a steady torrential downpour struck northeastern Minnesota, inundating the city of Duluth.
Credit: Brian Peterson/Star-Tribune/AP
Workers block off the site of a huge sinkhole which occurred overnight on Shiliuzhuang Road in Beijing on April 26, 2011.
A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle before it sank into the hole. Authorities suspect the hole was caused by construction of a subway line.
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
This sinkhole in Windermere, Florida, grew to at least 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep.
Florida is prone to sinkholes because of the underlying limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water.
Credit: CBS News
Workers use excavators to fill in a sinkhole which occurred overnight on Shiliuzhuang road in Beijing on April 26, 2011.
A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle before it sank into the hole.
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
This picture taken on January 29, 2013 shows rescuers filling the sinkhole that buildings collapsed into the night before near a subway construction site in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province.
The hole measured about 1,000 square feet across and was around 30 feet deep, but no one was killed, according to a state media report.
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
San Diego sinkhole
A massive 200 foot x 240 foot landslide opened up and tore apart the pavement of Soledad Mountain Road, October 3, 2007 in the Mount Soledad neighborhood of La Jolla, near San Diego.
The landslide has damaged or destroyed six homes and forced the evacuation of at least 20 others.
Credit: Kent Horner/Getty Images
Members of a rescue brigade get out from the crater carrying an empty casket and body bag after an unsuccessful operation to retrieve missing victims at the collapsed Pinheiros subway station, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 15, 2007.
Rescuers dug through tons of rubble in search of as many as seven people believed buried inside a giant sinkhole that opened at a construction site in South America's biggest city. Brazilian officials said a passenger minivan fell to the bottom of a 130-foot-deep pit dug to facilitate delivery of supplies for workers building an underground railway line. The lip of the hole gave way to a landslide, taking with it vehicles on a roadway around the edge and dumping tons of earth, asphalt and concrete on top of them.
Credit: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images
Los Angeles sinkhole
Workmen stand outside a 30-foot deep sinkhole that appeared in a busy street in Industry, a suburb of Los Angeles, early January 11, 1995.
A motorist drove into the hole but was rescued with minor injuries. After the rescue a slab of concrete fell over the car, burying it. The hole is growing as rain water from a broken sewer pipe undermines the area where the hole is located.
Credit: Carlos Schiebeck/AFP/Getty Images
A massive sinkhole near Daisetta, Texas, swallowed up oil field equipment and some vehicles on May 7, 2008 and continued to grow.
Credit: James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle/AP
Denver Water employees work Feb. 8, 2008 to remove a section of an aging 66-inch water main that broke on Interstate 25 in Denver.
The water created a massive sinkhole and buckled a large section of the highway, creating a crater 16 feet deep and 40 feet wide.
Credit: Will Powers/AP
An SUV on a Brooklyn, N.Y. road was barely visible Jan. 23, 2010, after part of the street collapsed following a water main break, sending the vehicle into the hole.
A storm caused a sinkhole to form in Lafayette, California, Dec. 2, 2012.
A sinkhole measuring 150 feet wide and about 60 feet deep is shown June 12, 2002, a day after it opened near the Woodhill Apartments in Orlando, Florida.
The sinkhole swallowed trees, pipelines and a section of sidewalk.
Credit: Chris Livingston/Getty Images
A man looks on as cars are seen stuck in a sinkhole that occurred in a parking area after heavy rainfall hit Haikou, Hainan province, China, September 16, 2015. No casualties were reported.