Check out the huge sinkhole that has caused houses to be evacuated

Updated: 

Seven homes had to be evacuated in North Yorkshire after a huge sinkhole "with an unknown depth" opened up in their back gardens.

The properties were cleared and emergency crews were called to the 15 metre wide hole on Magdalen's Road, Ripon.

The sink hole in Ripon
The sinkhole destroyed the back gardens of the homes in Ripon (John Giles/PA)

Fortunately there were no injuries but North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said the hole had an "unknown depth" and they are continuing to investigate.

The Ripon area is prone to sinkholes, which are usually caused by the dissolution of thick gypsum deposits beneath the surface.

This incident is close to where another opened up beneath a 100-year-old building in Magdalen's Close in 2014, leaving it in a precarious state. After the partial house collapse, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said gypsum under the town had dissolved to form a maze-like cave system.

A view of a large crack on a house in Magdalen's Close in 2014
In 2014, a sinkhole caused a large crack to appear down the side of a house on Magdalen's Close (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

The BGS said in a report that sinkholes appeared in Ripon every two or three years in the 1980s and 1990s but there had not been any reported in the seven years before the 2014 event. It added there were a number of possible triggering mechanisms, relating to action of water underground.

It could have been worse though - check out this sinkhole from over in Japan earlier this week.

The sinkhole in Japan
It took workers days to fix the sinkhole in Fukuoka, which caused power, water and gas supplies to be cut off from parts of the city (Sadayuki Goto/AP)