How many sinkholes open up in a year?

There is no database of sinkhole collapses for the United States, so these data are unavailable. Some individual state geologic surveys track reported collapses within their state. Many sinkhole collapses are not reported to authorities or news organizations, and many occur in rural areas where they are unobserved.

Learn more: USGS Water Science School - Sinkholes

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USGS CoreCast
May 8, 2008

What's Up With Sinkholes?

A huge sinkhole in Texas begs a few questions about this fascinating and sometimes hazardous phenomenon, so we sit down with USGS geologist Randy Orndorff to learn more.

Image: Various Karst Features Along Peace River, Fl
January 1, 2008

Various Karst Features Along Peace River, Fl

Inflow hole, left of staff gage, along the bottom wall of Dover Sink.

Image: Various Karst Features Along Peace River, Fl
January 1, 2007

Various Karst Features Along Peace River, Fl

Monitoring levels at Gator Sink.

Image: Various Karst Features Along Peace River, Fl
January 1, 2007

Various Karst Features Along Peace River, Fl

Root filled cavities near Catacombs No. 8 showing underground flow.

Image: Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981
May 9, 1981

Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981

Photo 9 of 15: Community pool collapsing into sinkhole at. Pool was roughly Olympic-sized and was about half full at the time of collapse. Impressive sounds of the rebar and concrete snapping, then the rush of water. View to north across the sinkhole. (1:30 p.m)

Image: Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981
May 9, 1981

Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981

Photo 7 of 15: Cars in a sinkhole. Auto mechanic’s garage starting to collapse into sinkhole. View to south across the sinkhole.

Image: Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981
May 9, 1981

Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981

Photo 5 of 15: House in a sinkhole. View to east across the sinkhole.

Image: Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981
May 9, 1981

Winter Park Florida Sinkhole of 1981

Photo 2 of 15: Cars and house in a sinkhole. Auto mechanic’s garage intact. View to south across the sinkhole.

Image: Prairie Pothole Region

Prairie Pothole Region

Prairie Pothole Region landscape showing high wetland density.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Image: Sinkhole in Frederick, Maryland

Sinkhole in Frederick, Maryland

Cover-collapse sinkhole in limestone near Frederick, Maryland (September 2003). Many sinkholes occur along highways where rainwater runoff is concentrated into storm drains and ditches increasing the rate of sinkhole development (note the sewer drain pipe beneath roadway).

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Image shows a cave diver in a flooded cave

Cave Diver in a Flooded Cave

Cave passage and diver within a section of the Ox Bel Ha cave system where the current study was conducted. The guideline seen alongside the diver that provides a continuous route to the surface is one of many safety standard the divers follow. Photograph © HP Hartmann.