According to Peter Hobbs, an engineering geologist with the British Geological Survey, sinkholes are caused by the dissolution of rock or by collapse into former mine workings because changes in the water table may affect the stability of underground cavities. He also specified that water tables may have lowered in the area because the weather in this part of the country has been relatively dry. The precise cause is not yet known. The local council claims the huge crater could not have been predicted, despite the smaller sinkhole being reported more than a week before the street opened up. “It sounded like a collapse, like an earthquake about 1.30 in the morning,” a resident in the area said. The district council housing department is working to rehouse anyone who is unable to return to their homes.