Social media has been awash with photos of a people carrier that fell into a sinkhole in south-east London. The hole, believed to be a result of recent heavy rainfall in the city, opened up on Woodland Terrace, Charlton between Heathwood Gardens and Maryon Road.

sinkholes and craters
12 May 2016: A car fell into a hole that appeared in the road outside St Thomas' Church on Woodland Terrace in Charlton, near Greenwich, London Metropolitan Police

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.