Geology

The Worst Sinkhole Disasters of All Time 

Coy Jandreau
Updated March 25, 2020 51.4k views 20 items

A sinkhole, also known as a swallow hole, shake hole, swallet, or doline, is a depression or hole caused by a collapse of the surface layer of the earth. Sinkholes can range from just one meter (swallowing up a single person walking by on the street) up to hundreds of kilometers, taking out entire cities. They can happen naturally by wind or water erosion, or artificially due to people mining and drilling in unsafe areas.

Whichever the case and whatever the cause, people notice. It's a literal force of nature and it can be terrifying. Though some are later turned into a nice vacation spot. They happen all over the world, on both continents and islands. Below are the worst sinkhole disasters of all time, ranked by users. Vote up the disaster you think was the worst, and keep an eye on the earth beneath you.
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Brazilian Port Sinkhole
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Not much is known about this incident in Brazil other than what seems to be an entire port was swept away in a matter of minutes, causing untold dollars in damages and a permanent end to that Port.

Agrico Gypsum Stack
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Video: YouTube

A major sinkhole in Florida history occurred in 2016, when a hole opened up right on top of a gypsum stack created by Mosaic Company, which makes fertilizer and animal feed. This dumped millions of gallons of toxics and waste water into the Florida Aquifer nearby... which stores much of Florida's drinking water.

Brazil City Block Sink Hole
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Video: YouTube

In January of 2014, a sinkhole took out an area, and all of the stores and homes in it, almost the size of an entire city block in the small town Abaetetuba in northern Brazil.

The Florida Sinkhole That Consumed a Man
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

This sinkhole unfortunately was not only the cause of thousands in damages but also claimed the life of Jeffrey Bush, a young father who was sleeping in his bed when the ground suddenly gave way and swallowed him whole. The hole was about 20 feet in diameter. The house has since been demolished and Bush's body was never recovered.