Sinkholes appear in Cayman Islands after massive 7.7-magnitude earthquake

Alex Woodward
Map showing location of the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that has been felt in Jamaica and Cuba, among other places: US Geological Survey

Viral footage appears to show sinkholes swallowing large chunks of roads following a string of earthquakes off the coasts of Jamaica and Cuba.

A major 7.7 magnitude quake prompted tsunami warnings and building evacuations as far as Miami, several hundred miles from the quake's centre.

Videos shared on social media show sinkholes opening in the Cayman Islands, where a 4.9-magnitude aftershock was reported following Tuesday's massive quake.

According to the US Geological Survey, sinkholes form in areas where the ground has no natural external surface drainage.

They typically form as the earth around them dissolves, causing an underground "cavern" to form and making the surface vulnerable to collapse, or if construction changes an area's natural water drainage and weakens the ground around it.

The quake struck at 2.10 pm south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica at a depth of approximately six miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

Reports from the Cayman Islands depicted spilled sewage lines and cracked roads, though no reported injuries or deaths.

Residents and workers in downtown Miami were urged to evacuate from buildings impacted by tremors felt throughout south Florida.