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Seeing a RAV4 fall into a sinkhole is absolutely terrifying. Natural disasters are scary on their own, but the ground beneath your feet (or tires) crumbling and falling into an open hole is the stuff of nightmares. This happening in California is even scarier, given its volatile geological, uh, situation. 

1 2022 Toyota RAV4 in a sinkhole
RAV4 in a sinkhole | VCFD

How common are massive sinkholes? 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, massive sinkholes are fairly rare. However, when they happen, they can wreak havoc. 

The U.S. Geological Survey says, “Sinkholes are common where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by groundwater circulating through them. As the rock dissolves, spaces and caverns develop underground. Sinkholes are dramatic because the land usually stays intact for a while until the underground spaces just get too big. If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces, then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur. These collapses can be small, or, as this picture shows, or they can be huge and can occur where a house or road is on top.”

Unfortunately, we have seen stories like this fairly often. At least more often than anyone would prefer. As reported by the Ventura County Star, this sinkhole measured 200 square feet when it opened around noon on Wednesday. Thankfully, no one was in the car when the sinkhole opened up, meaning no one was hurt. 

The teacher’s 2022 Toyota RAV4 got eaten

The nice new 2022 Toyota RAV4 got swallowed up by this sinkhole. The teacher who owned the RAV4 has only had the little SUV since November 2022. “I couldn’t believe it,” she told the newspaper. “It’s so bizarre and surreal because it’s not really something you think about happening in this area.”

If the Toyota had merely sank a few feet down, it wouldn’t be all that big of a deal. However, it seems like the sinkhole opened up under only half of the SUV, making it fall into the hole and onto its roof. That little detail turns this from replacing some bits and bobs into a potentially totaled RAV4. Even upside down, the RAV4 was recovered later that day. Although, the condition of the car is not reported, according to CarScoops

What causes sinkholes? 

2022 Toyota RAV4 in a sinkhole
RAV4 in a sinkhole | VCFD

As our friends at the Geological Survey mentioned earlier, massive amounts of rainfall or other large quantities of water can cause sinkholes to open. In fact, local area officials believe the heavy rain in the area may have caused an underground pipe to burst, eroding the ground to the point where the road collapsed. 

After the Fire Department investigated for any other damage, the case was turned over to the police. Despite getting the “all-clear” from local authorities, the fear of more sinkholes caused the public works department to run cameras through the pipes to look for any more damage. 

Sinkholes are disasters that aren’t easily predicted. One second, the ground is, well, the ground; the next second, it’s a massive hole. The scariest part is how huge these things can be. Can you get sinkhole insurance?