A bus fell through a large sinkhole that opened up on a highway near the cities of Itaituba and Ruropolis in Para state, northern Brazil on 24 March 2015.

The passengers of the bus were able to escape before the bus was swallowed up and swept away by a raging river.

Sinkholes can occur naturally when an underground cavern collapses, often after heavy rain or flooding. Conversely, they can be caused by drought, as alterations in the water table level can cause chasms.

The craters can also be man-made, resulting from construction works or burst water mains. In this gallery, IBTimesUK looks at sinkholes around the world.

sinkholes and craters
A picture taken on May 3, 2014 shows people visiting "The Gateway to Hell," a huge burning gas crater in the heart of Turkmenistan's Karakum desert. The fiery pit was the result of a simple miscalculation by Soviet scientists who drilled into an underground cavern, forming a deep sinkhole, in 1971. Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases, the scientists set it alight, thinking that the gas would burn out quickly and this would cause the flames to go out. But the flames have not gone out in more than 40 yearsAFP
sinkholes and craters
A member of an expedition group stands on the edge of a newly formed crater on the Yamal Peninsula, northern Siberia, on November 9, 2014. Experts, including geologists and historians, have not come to a consensus about the origin of the sinkhole yet, Russian media reportReuters
guatemala sinkhole
A giant sinkhole in Guatemala City on May 31, 2010. A hole about 65ft (20m) across and 100ft (30 m) deep suddenly opened up, swallowing a three-storey factoryReuters
guatemala
A man examines a 12-metre-deep (40 feet) sinkhole that opened up under the bed of a pensioner in Guatemala City, on July 19, 2011. Inocenta del Rosal Hernandez, 65, awoke to a loud noise and found the earth under her bed had imploded, creating a perfectly circular pitReuters
woman driving
Pamela Knox waits to be rescued after a massive sinkhole opened up underneath her car in Toledo, Ohio on July 3, 2013. Fire officials said a water main burst caused the road to collapse suddenlyReuters
sinkholes and craters
Workers look a truck that fell into a large pit caused by a cave-in on a street in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on August 14, 2014Reuters
sinkholes and craters
A car hangs over the edge of a deep hole on Yunlianghe Road in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, China, on December 12, 2014Getty Images
flordia house
Demolition crews and Hillsborough County Fire Department watch as the house where Jeffrey Bush was swallowed by a sinkhole, is demolished in Seffner, Florida, on March 3, 2013. Florida rescue workers ended their efforts to recover the body of Bush, who disappeared into the sinkhole that swallowed his bedroom while he sleptReuters
sinkhole uk
Concrete is poured into a 4.5 metre (15 feet) wide sinkhole that swallowed a car on the driveway of a house in Walters Ash, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, on February 6, 2014Reuters
landslide germany
The remains of a home at the bottom of a huge hole in the village of Nachterstedt, on July 18, 2009. Three residents were missing in the eastern German village after their lakeside home and another building were destroyed when a 350-metre stretch of shoreline gave wayReuters
landslide
A massive 200 x 240 feet section of collapsed road is pictured in the Mount Soledad neighbourhood of La Jolla near San Diego, California, on October 3, 2007. A landslide damaged or destroyed six homes and forced the evacuation of at least 20 othersReuters
sinkholes and craters
People look at a truck that got stuck in a sinkhole on a road in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on January 7, 2015Reuters
china lorry
A tanker rears out of a caved-in area on a road in Xian, China, on July 27, 2013Reuters
sinkholes and craters
A car lies in a sinkhole that opened up on a road outside the Crimean capital Simferopol, September 28, 2014. Six people were reported to have died in the car that fell into the pitReuters
sinkholes and craters
People try to push a taxi that got stuck on the edge of a hole after a road collapsed in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, September 15, 2014. The city authority said two cave-ins occurred along the street after several days of continuous rainReuters
sinkholes and craters
People look at a large sinkhole that opened up on a street in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, after a water pipe burst underneath it on October 27, 2013Reuters
italy cars
Cars lie in a sinkhole after a road collapsed into an underground cave system, in the southern Italian town of Gallipoli on March 30, 2007Reuters
china huge
A sinkhole near Qingquan primary school in Ningxiang, Hunan province, China, on June 15, 2010. The fast-growing hole was 150 metres (492ft) wide and 50 metres (164ft) deep and had destroyed 20 housesReuters
china body
Rescue workers retrieve the body of a victim of a road cave-in in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on May 21, 2013Reuters
china workers
Workers repair a cave-in area on a road in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, on May 27, 2012Reuters
venezuela
The damaged Gran Marical de Ayacucho highway in the state of Miranda outside Caracas, Venezuela, on December 1, 2010. Thousands of Venezuelans fled their homes after landslides and swollen rivers killed at least 21 people and threatened to cause more damageReuters
germany
A crater that appeared in the central German town of Schmalkalden, on November 1, 2010. A huge hole measuring 30 by 40 metres opened up in the middle of a residential estateReuters