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.