- 06.13.13 10:05 AM EDT
You may remember sinkholes from a certain hungry coyote chasing a certain fast bird, but as it turns out, they are a very real problem. Sinkholes are created by something known as the karst process where rainwater or loose soil create underground caverns barely masked by a layer of Earth that eventually collapses. Geologists say this phenomenon has been happening since the beginning of time.
Sinkholes have been popping up throughout America - from a city street in Chicago to a pitcher's mound at a Texas baseball field - and can be disruptive to say the least. The city of Harrisburg, PA declared municipal bankruptcy in 2011 partly attributed to the 40+ sinkholes collapsing throughout the streets. Sandy soil and leaky pipes are attributed to the destruction in the 50,000 person city.
And it's not just an American problem -- check out even more terrifying sinkholes in China: