Tourists were left scratching their heads as a 15ft deep hole shooting out snails appeared on the beach in Exmouth, Devon.
A large part of the beach had to be cordoned off after a beachgoer reported the mystery hole to the Coastguard near Orcombe Point on Thursday afternoon.
Experts found the surrounding sand had holes appearing too.
East Devon District Council said a 100-metre squared cordon was put in place after concern was raised that the hole could have a much larger chamber underneath.
Exmouth Coastguard reported the incident on its Facebook page, writing: "At lunchtime today a concerned member of the public contacted HM Coastguard as a large hole was appearing at the eastern end of Exmouth beach, Orcombe Point area.
"The National Maritime Operations Centre dispatched Exmouth Coastguard team to secure the area and provide accurate information to East Devon District Council.
"On arrival a hole approx 15' x 15' had appeared and was filled with water.
"The surrounding sand was also soft, with fresh holes appearing nearby. A cordon was in place and safety advice was given to beach users.
"On arrival of a Civil Engineer from EDDC the decision was made to enlarge the cordon as there was a concern that the hole may have been indicative a much larger chamber underneath.
"An incoming tide will be flooding the hole later this evening allowing EDDC time to consider how to deal with the hole. As this was now a matter for the local authority HM Coastguard returned to station."
#outonashoutCALLOUT! #26 02/07/2015 - 1247hrsAt lunchtime today a concerned member of the public contacted HM...
According to witnesses, the hole was 'bubbling' and was also shooting out snails.
Kite surf instructor James Dart told the BBC: "I looked over and there were big plumes of water coming out of the beach it was all bubbling up much like a geyser, it was probably going about a foot above the beach - it was quite a tremendous sight.
"I got closer and saw plant matter coming up, a few snails coming out too. It was something to spice things up in the rain."
According to the Metro, a council spokeswoman said: "The beach is very popular with dog walkers and bathers who are being advised to avoid the cordoned off area.
"Heavy rain yesterday may be the cause of the hole – a natural phenomena – to have opened up."
Top 25 beaches in the UK (TripAdvisor)
Mystery 15ft hole 'shooting out snails' appears on Devon beach
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Mystery 15ft hole 'shooting out snails' appears on Devon beach
Saint Lucia? This is Vatersay beach in Scotland's Outer Hebrides, the southern-most inhabited island and one of the most scenic and beautiful in the archipelago. With vast white sandy beaches and turquoise waters comparable to those found in the Caribbean, time spent on this idyllic island will be memorable for a long time to come. It has great views towards the now uninhabited islands of Sandray, Pabbay and Mingulay and is home to some of the largest colonies of seabirds including razorbill, gannet, guillemot and puffin.
The crystal clear water at Port Gaverne near Port Isaac could be easily mistaken for a Caribbean beach. The sheltered, narrow cove has plenty of sand at low tide and may be the quaintest cove in North Cornwall nestling in under the cliffs. At high tide, it is an excellent diving spot and the sunset is as dreamy as you'll find in Antigua.
Wow! Look at that powder white sand. It could be mistaken for a secluded spot in the Virgin Islands, but this stunning stretch of sand is in Shetland. The Sands of Breckon is a white sand beach in the North of Yell, which has the largest area of shell sand dune and dune grassland in Shetland. The beautiful blue flag beach is sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds and provides a wonderful view of the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
This breathtaking beach in Wales reminds us of the idyllic sands of St Barts or Grenada. Harlech’s huge, peaceful beach is not just flat sand – the beautiful sand dunes here are a prized feature, the reason behind the area’s designation as a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The beach is an ideal place for children to play and an even better spot for adults to sit back and relax. Near the beach there’s a shop, café and the internationally famous Royal St David’s Golf Club, one of Britain’s finest links courses.
This spectacular sandy beach forms a white arc between two headlands on the North Antrim coast. In this secluded location, even on a busy day there is plenty of room for quiet relaxation. Whitepark Bay is backed by ancient dunes that provide a range of rich habitats for bird and animal life. The Caribbean-esque beach has a golden stretch of sand, perfect for lazy summer days, picnic and long walks.
Rhossili Bay boasts a three-mile sandy beach, overlooked by National Trust holiday cottage, the Old Rectory. Visible on the beach at low tide are the remains of the Helvetia, a ship wrecked in 1887. From the top of Rhossili Down, the highest point on Gower, views of the peninsula can be seen as well as across the sea to West Wales, Lundy Island and the north Devon coast. The stunning beach fought off competition from many beaches in the Caribbean to be named one of the world's best in a 2013 TripAdvisor survey.
Secluded Kynance Cove on Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world - and you can see why! Its defining features are the serpentine rock formations with a distinctive pinnacle to the north of the beach. The beautiful beach, with its Caribbean-style sand and crystal clear water is one of Cornwall's most photographed spots.
A small bay backed by dunes and pine trees, accessible only by a half-mile walk from the nearest car park, Barafundle Bay has been voted many times as one of the best beaches in Britain and the world. Swathes of golden sand and crystal clear waters, it is often likened to a Caribbean beach. If you're looking for an isolated spot, this pristine beach is the place and has no facilities.
The beaches on small Outer Hebridean island Berneray are so beautiful that one was once mistakenly used in a campaign by the Thailand Tourist Board to promote the Asian country's beaches! The picturesque West Beach (pictured) is a three-mile stretch of machair bordered by white sand.
The superb tidal sands and beautiful shallow lagoons at Pedn Voudner in Treen make it a fantastic option for beachgoers looking for a taste of the Caribbean. Set between Logan Rock and Porthcurno, the beach is accessible by boat or from the coasta foot path along the cliffs. It is also an unofficial naturist beach - the perfect spot to strip off!
A favourite among locals and visitors, Portrush Whiterocks Beach is famed for its limestone cliffs, grassy knolls and incredible views. The sandy beach is a popular place for surfing and bodyboarding, and is home to a labyrinth of specatacular caves and arches including Shelagh's Head, the Wishing Arch and Lion's Paw.
Running from the pier at Ballycastle Marina at the western end to Pans Rock in the east, Ballycastle Beach is a fabulous 1.2km beach with beautiful sand and some shingle. A lovely spot for bathing and walking, in the distance you can see the Pans Rocks rock formation jutting out into the sea and the hidden Devil's Churn, with its underwater sea tunnel.
With its white sand and turquoise waters, Alchmelvich is a pretty beach popular for water skiing and kayaking. In the summer you can spot porpoisess swimming and the blue flag beach attracts fishermen, with cod, haddock, whiting, pollack, saithe and mackerel being common catches.
Described by visitors as a paradise, Porthcurno, located in the far west of Cornwall is famed for its gorgeous fine soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and high cliffs on both sides. The oasis of stunning natural beauty is popular with families and has a stream that flows down one side.