(Photo: NBC Screen Shot)
Residents have been left concerned after a sinkhole swallowed up a pond on Sunday stunning locals in Newcastle, California.
Local landowner, Mark Korb, has said he woke up on Sunday morning only to find the man-made pond on his land had completely disappeared, apparently it had drained away due to a massive sinkhole beneath the land.
The sinkhole managed to drain the entire pond just overnight, with Korb saying, "I would guess probably four to five hours for this whole area to drain."
The report comes just weeks after two massive sinkholes in Florida stunned the nation, with one of them swallowing up a man as he lay in his bedroom.
So what are sinkholes and how do they occur?
Sinkholes are basically depressions in the ground that form over time due to the combined forces of erosion and gravity. They have been known to reveal themselves gradually over time, although sometimes, like the cases in Florida, they can cause sudden collapses.
Scientists say that sinkholes are usually caused by the water that flows below the topsoil. The water turns acidic from absorbing carbon dioxide and participating in botanical processes; when it eventually flows down into the bedrock, it begins to erode the structural integrity of the stone formations below.
Sinkholes are also well know to be found in areas where the bedrock is made of a soft mineral, such as limestone or gypsum.
Generally speaking there are three main types of naturally caused sinkholes:
A Cover-collapse sinkhole
This type of sinkhole occurs where the overburden is made of soft material, like clay. As caverns form in the bedrock below, pieces of the overburden tumble into the empty space, making the topsoil level weaker and weaker, until it eventually caves in.
A Cover-subsidence sinkhole
This type of sinkhole is usually characterized by small dimensions, the abundant presence of water and a gradual collapse.
A Dissolution (or solution) sinkhole
These don't exactly sink, but rather the overburden washes away, exposing the bedrock to erosion.
Here is a video of a 3D animation showing how sinkholes form:
One sinkhole in Florida recently gained international media coverage, after a man was sucked down into a hole that suddenly opened up under his bedroom.
The man's family members reported that they were all preparing for bed when they heard a loud crashing sound and then the man screaming as he was sucked down into the hole.
That sinkhole measured about 30 feet wide and 60 feet deep, and since it opened up it has become filled with clay and debris.
Officials have stated that despite a thorough search it is highly unlikely that the man's body will ever be recovered from the hole.
The home was bulldozed to the ground, and officials will now move to stabilize the sinkhole so it does not cause any further issues to the other residents in the area.
Already two other houses nearby the sinkhole home have been evacuated through fears that they too could collapse, as the foundations below the structures have been significantly weakened.
Here is a video news report into the new California sinkhole: