Watch Louisiana Sinkhole Swallow Water and Trees in Seconds (Video)

First Posted: Aug 22, 2013 09:57 AM EDT

A massive sinkhole in Louisiana swallowed up trees and water last week, sucking down everything in its vicinity. This spectacular (and scary) event was actually caught on camera, showing exactly how dangerous these sinkholes can be.

Sinkholes, which are essentially holes that open suddenly in the ground, occur due to a variety of factors. Sometimes, erosion due to underground water that gathers due to man-made activities is the cause. Other times, sinkholes occur after material is taken out of the ground--such as water or minerals. The formation of these holes can be dramatic because surface land stays intact until there is not enough support. Then, a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur. The states most affected by this phenomenon are Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

This particular sinkhole was first spotted in 2012. Since then, it's grown to almost 24 acres in size, according to WAFB. The latest incident wasn't actually the sinkhole widening, though. It occurred when the sinkhole "burped," which is when air and gas from deep within the sinkhole bubbles up. This can cause debris to float to the top and can cause surface material to be swallowed into the slurry.

Since the sinkhole is located in a Louisiana swamp, there aren't any residents at risk. Yet it does spell disaster for the surrounding trees. The sinkhole swallowed a large cluster of 40-foot trees in a matter of seconds in this latest event.

So what caused this particular sinkhole? Authorities believe that it could have been created due to the mining of underground salt caverns in the area, according to The Daily Mail. The land is currently leased to the mining company Texas Brine, which specializes in injection mining.

Currently, authorities are keeping an eye on this sinkhole as it continues to "burp" and widen.

Want to see the spectacular footage for yourself? Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube.

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