Swallowed Up By The Ground: Sinkholes!

Guatemala sinkhole

A huge sinkhole opens up on an intersection in Guatemala City, caused by a landslide due to tropical storm Agatha, on May 31, 2010.

That's some fairly precise storm damage. Any reports on a likely cause as opposed to this wacky non-correlation the Mess/Press have created?
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Crews probe Guatemala sinkhole as neighbors flee

GUATEMALA CITY — A cavernous and almost perfectly round sinkhole swallowed an entire intersection in Guatemala City during a tropical storm, spooking people in the neighborhood but exciting geologists.
The hole is 66 feet (20 meters) across and plunges nearly 100 feet (30 meters) deep.
Geologists said Tuesday that the circular shape suggested a cave formation underneath, but what exactly caused the sinkhole was still a mystery.
"I can tell you what it's not: It's not a geological fault, and it's not the product of an earthquake," said David Monterroso, a geophysics engineer at the National Disaster Management Agency. "That's all we know. We're going to have to descend."
The sinkhole formed Saturday and gulped down a clothing factory about three miles (two kilometers) from the site of a similar sinkhole three years ago.
Neighbors said it was a miracle no factory workers died.
"The boys were lucky," resident Honora Oliva said. "They left at six that afternoon, an hour before the earth opened up."
Neighbors said a weekend security guard also was spared because he had left to tend to his house, which flooded from heavy rain as Tropical Storm Agatha bore down on Central America. The storm has killed at least 180 people.
Some neighbors believe one or two people might have disappeared, but authorities said no deaths had been reported.
Crews were waiting for blueprints of the city's drainage system before investigating further.
The 2007 sinkhole killed three people and swallowed several homes in the same area. It was blamed on rain and an underground sewage flow, but it is too early to say whether those problems are to blame this time, said Monterroso, who also investigated the previous incident.
Police and soldiers stood guard around the sinkhole to prevent the curious from getting too close. Most people living nearby have moved out, fearful the hole will expand and swallow more homes.
"We're not going to wait," said one man who declined to give his name. "We've already rented elsewhere and we're leaving now."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... QD9G2SPD83
I think the phrase "holy sh*t" comes to mind :shock:

That i find genuinely quite frightening. Ghosts and ghoulies can scare me all they want, but the idea that the ground under your feet can suddenly turn into a 100ft drop :shock: :shock: :shock:
Several posters on Unexplained Mysteries are insisting that the hole pretty much has to be a Photoshopped hoax.

I am NOT making that up.
Here's an interesting explanation.

Not a sinkhole.
Instead, Bonis prefers the term "piping feature" -- a decidedly less sexy label for the 100-foot deep, 66-foot side circular chasm. But it's an important distinction, he maintains, because "sinkholes" refer to areas where bedrock is solid but has been eaten away by groundwater, forming a geological Swiss cheese whose contours are nearly impossible to predict.

The situation beneath the country's capital is far different, and more dangerous. The lion's share of the city is built on pumice fill -- ash flows made up of loose, gravel-like particles deposited during ancient volcanic eruptions. In places, the debris is piled over 600 feet thick, filling up what would otherwise be a v-shaped valley of faulted bedrock.
http://news.discovery.com/earth/dont-ca ... khole.html

Here's a good cross-section picture of the type of layering - not the current hole, I think
BlackRiverFalls said:
I think the phrase "holy sh*t" comes to mind :shock:

That i find genuinely quite frightening. Ghosts and ghoulies can scare me all they want, but the idea that the ground under your feet can suddenly turn into a 100ft drop :shock: :shock: :shock:
Indeed. One wonders where all the earth goes... and what it might feel like to go down with it.
Jesus is hammering some scavenged galvo atop his shanty to keep out the monsoonal rains and WHOOM his entire world drops out literally beneath him. He watches the everything he was recede until it is a tiny circle of light hundreds of feet above him. He pauses to take stock of his situation as he freefalls and realises that he might well never return. This strikes him as patently absurd. He takes out a piece of paper, sets a new ink cartidge into his antique pen and.. he thinks a while. He writes:
"I don't want a tickle. I just wanna ride my motorsickle.
I don't want a pickle. I just wanna ride on my motorsickle.
And I don't wanna die. I just wanna ride on my motorcy
cle." (Guthrie 1968)

Not to make light of the horror of those lost in such incidents and those left behind, but it does put one in mind of Lew Carroll.
In connection with the Guatemala City pit, let me highly recommend Lord Dunsany's short-short-short story "The Taking Up of Piccadilly."
poozler said:
rynner2 said:
In pictures: sinkholes, craters and collapsed roads around the world

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthp ... world.html

What on earth would cause a perfectly round hole like that? It couldn't be natural, could it?

I would say it is natural - nature loves a perfect circle or sphere.

Did anyone see the one taken at the Shell garage in Seattle and think of the film - TREMORS Is that a young Kevin Bacon in the hole?
Today, a Florida man was swallowed by a sink hole that opened in his bedroom.

His brother tried to rescue him, but was unable to find him, he is 'presumed dead' May God rest his soul.

Such events are recorded in the Bible, and I for one, shall scoff no more.
krakenten said:
Today, a Florida man was swallowed by a sink hole that opened in his bedroom.
Florida man swallowed by sinkhole in bedroom

A man was missing early Friday after a large sinkhole opened under the bedroom of a house near Tampa and his brother says the man screamed for help before he disappeared.
The 36-year-old man’s brother told rescue crews he heard a loud crash around 11 p.m. Thursday, then heard his brother screaming for help.

“When he got there, there was no bedroom left,” Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico said. “There was no furniture. All he saw was a piece of the mattress sticking up.”
The brother called 911 and frantically tried to help his brother. An arriving deputy pulled the brother from the still-collapsing house.
There’s been no contact with the man since then and neighbors on both sides of the Seffner home have been evacuated.

“We put engineering equipment into the sinkhole and didn’t see anything compatible with life,” Damico said. But Damico would not say that the man is presumed dead.

Damico said that at the surface, she estimates the sinkhole is about 30 feet across but officials say the sinkhole spreads to about 100 feet across below the surface. :shock:
“The entire house is on the sinkhole,” Damico said.

Engineers arrived at the scene later in the morning. From the outside, there were no cracks or visible signs of damage to the home. The front door was open, but taped off.

Janell Wheeler told the Tampa Bay Times she was inside the house with four other adults, a child and two dogs when the sinkhole opened.
“It sounded like a car hit my house,” she said.
It was dark. She remembered screams and one of her nephews rushing to rescue his brother, trapped in the debris.

Wheeler’s house was condemned. The rest of the family went to a hotel but she stayed behind with her dog, sleeping in her car.
“I just want my nephew,” she said through tears.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/nationwor ... khole.html

Frightful... :(
yes, I believe that in general Florida is as holey as a sponge.
sinkhole opens under man's bedroom, man missing


Florida man vanishes after being sucked into sinkhole under his bedroom

Rescue workers in Hillsborough County are still searching for a man who was swallowed by a sinkhole Thursday night, but chances of finding him alive are slim.

Despite his brother’s efforts to pull him from the rubble, Jeffrey Bush, 36, disappeared into the sinkhole that opened up under his room in a Seffner home, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

As of Friday morning, the site had become too unstable to attempt a rescue, and workers shifted their efforts toward recovery. Hillsborough Fire Rescue reportedly said there were no signs of life inside the sinkhole.

Though the story may terrify homeowners, experts say South Florida isn’t at risk for sinkholes that appear without warning.

“Over here, the geology is different,” said Don McNeill, a licensed geologist and professor of geology at the University of Miami. “We do have sinkholes, but they’re different styles of sinkholes.”

South Florida sinkholes, McNeill explained, are called dissolution sinkholes. They happen as sand and sediment dissolves through dissolution holes in limestone rock.

Sinkholes are uncommon in South Florida, though they have appeared in Hialeah and Miami Springs. When one opens up, it’s generally shallow and broad, developing over several days and settling like the sand in an hourglass, McNeill said.

Homeowners would notice large cracks in their walls and uneven ground long before anything is in danger of falling into a sinkhole.

“You usually have time to get away from these things,” McNeill said.

The Seffner sinkhole, on the other hand, is more of a “classic” sinkhole, caused by erosion of underground caverns.

In Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties (known to insurance adjusters as “sinkhole alley”), underground limestone caverns erode upward, and eventually the sediment on top becomes too weak to hold anything on top of it.

Even when the more dangerous, cavernous sinkholes open up, McNeill said people can usually climb out of them.

“The probability is very low that someone would be injured like that,” McNeill said.
I have often marvelled at the speed Google indexes this site - maybe that explains FT's sensitivity over legal matters.

Indexing posts before they are made, suggests we are all redundant! :shock:
Low probability? Just takes once, like the recent asteroid strike.

Population density makes such events more likely to affect humans, of course, just as surveillance cameras have shown us how frequent large fireballs actually are.

In legend and lore, the phrase, "the Earth swallowed them up" occurs frequently, once it was thought to refer to earthquakes, but now we see another possibility.

Our planet is full of surprises, our memories short. If it happens infrequently, many humans are inclined to think it won't happen again. I have heard people say,"that was back in history times", as though we have stepped out of history.

The recent discovery of King Richard III's grave is an example, a large church and its graveyard, lost for centuries in the press of events.

I'm currently living in the town where I grew up, and often returned to for extended stays. Like much of America, the old 'down town' is moribund and vacant, buildings crumbling from neglect.

I'm also in the house where I grew up, and I walk my dog through that now sad old business district, and I cannot remember what was in most of the vacant store fronts. Now they're full of spiders and dust, then they were businesses where I often shopped. But I can't recall what half of them once were.

History is fragile and fleeting, remember, once the civilization of Egypt was a mystery, and there are still lost cities undiscovered.

(why is it all old ruins are 'built by devils'?)
There were two previous dedicated sinkhole threads, 've merged them under the catch-all title, Sinkholes!.

+ added today's Florida sinkhole story and related posts moved from, Underground. All moved to, Earth Mysteries - The Land.

Who, What, Why: How are sinkholes formed?

A Florida man whose bedroom was engulfed by a sinkhole as he slept is presumed dead. How - and where - do sinkholes open up?

Sinkholes, or dolines, often take thousands of years to form and vary hugely in size.
The deepest is China's Xiaozhai Tienkeng at 2172ft (662m). The Qattara Depression in Egypt is roughly 50 miles (80km) by 75 miles (121km) in surface size.

But often sinkholes can be only a few metres in diameter.
They are usually the result of what are known as Karst processes. They happen when a layer of rock underneath the ground is dissolved by acidic water.
Usually this layer is a soluble carbonate rock, such as limestone or its purer form, chalk. Florida is particularly prone to sinkholes as the entire state has limestone underneath it.

Typically rainfall seeps through the soil, absorbing carbon dioxide and reacting with decaying vegetation. As a result, the water that reaches the soluble rock is acidic.
The acidic water causes the erosion of the soluble rock layers beneath the surface - eventually creating cavernous spaces.

The soil or sand over the limestone collapses into a sinkhole when it is no longer supported because of the cavity below. This final collapse of the surface might take anything from a few minutes to several hours.

There are warning signs in urban areas. These include doors and windows failing to close properly, or cracks appearing in the foundations of houses. In some cases ground movement can be detected.

Heavy rainfall or poor drainage systems can trigger a collapse.
But predictions are not easy.
"It can be very difficult to predict collapse because there is very little surface evidence of the features," says Dr Vanessa Banks, an expert in shallow geohazards and risk at the British Geological Survey.
Different rock types behave in different ways, she adds.

The timing of a collapse also depends on the nature of the soil or rock at the surface which forms a "bridge" over the growing cavern below.
"Consolidated deposits such as sandstone will bridge voids until their tensional strength is exceeded, when the rock will fail and collapse into the underlying cavity," says Banks.

Certain types of ground - such as gravel and sand - are not fixed in place and so more prone to being washed away.
The erosion may take many years but the collapse may be sudden as it depends on a tipping point determined by the material at the surface, Banks says.

Moreover, acidic water varies in its strength - and therefore the rate of erosion - depending on the soil and rock it filters through.
"Water acidity can typically have a pH level of about 6.5 - still drinkable to all intents and purposes - but also be as low as four," explains Banks. Iron and sand can increase the acidity. So too can sandstone and shale.

Human development can also affect these natural processes.
When people are building a basement, they may need to drain water, explains Banks. This drainage of water can destabilise the soil by washing away smaller particles - like sand - that are necessary to keep larger particles together, increasing the chances of collapse.
In January, a sinkhole that swallowed an entire building complex in Guangzhou, China, may have been triggered by the construction of an underground metro line nearby.

Burst water mains or sewage systems also cause many urban sinkholes to happen, regardless of the rock type below.
These cause instability in the surrounding area, often giving the impression of a natural sinkhole, says Banks.
Urban development also adds more weight to the surface layer, potentially speeding up the collapse of a sinkhole.

It is crucial to undertake extensive site investigations prior to building work, says Banks.
There are rules and guidelines for the construction industry in the UK that prevent the discharge of water within a minimum of five metres from a house.
But Banks says that concrete urban development on the whole could in fact be "slowing [sinkholes' natural] formation by restricting this drainage water from seeping through".

There are more sinkholes in rural environments, she says, primarily because risky areas are typically avoided by urban developers.

Sinkholes often become death traps for animals, we have discovered many good specimens of extinct creatures in old sinkholes.

Caves are the last truly mysterious places left. One cavern system in the American Southwest has a hole near the entrance from which issues a fifty mile per hour wind, and nobody knows where it comes from.

Sorry, saw it on TV, got no references to cite, but I'm going to use it in a horror story soon.
Illinois golfer plunges down sinkhole on the 14th

Mark Mihal's golf partners rescue him from the 18ft-deep sinkhole with a rope

Family told sinkhole house was 'stable' Watch
An Illinois man has survived an 18ft (5.4m) fall inside a sinkhole while he was golfing, two weeks after another sinkhole swallowed a person in Florida.

Mark Mihal, 43, was investigating an unusual depression when the earth gave way on the 14th hole of the fairway in Waterloo, Illinois.

Friends managed to bring the mortgage broker to safety with a rope, and he escaped with only a sore shoulder.

Mr Mihal said he felt lucky to survive the "absolutely crazy" accident.

"It didn't look unstable,'' Mr Mihal said of the slump in the ground, which exposed a 10ft-wide sinkhole once he stood on it. "And then I was gone.

"I was just freefalling. It felt like forever, but it was just a second or two, and I didn't know what I was going to hit. And all I saw was darkness.''

Such holes are common in south-western Illinois, where old underground mines frequently cause the earth to cave in.

According to Sam Panno, a senior geochemist with the Illinois State Geological Survey, there are as many as 15,000 sinkholes in the region.

Florida man Jeffrey Bush, 36, is presumed dead after a sinkhole swallowed his bedroom near Tampa this month.

Aerial footage showing the 18ft (5.4m) deep and 10ft (3.1m) wide pit
In pictures: the Russian city of Samara being 'eaten alive' by sinkholes

[Picture gallery - 16 pics]

Residents of Samara, in south Russia, have seen cars and buses vanish beneath their streets as an epidemic of sinkholes spreads through the city. Words by Paul Wright

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picture ... holes.html
There seems to be rather a lot of sinkholes, just now.

This could be because, with the web, stories that might once have only been of local note now spread world wide, or....

Acid rain accellerates the dissolution of limestone, thus, if the local geology has many limestone caverns, and acid rain is pronounced (Soviet era recklessness spawned many ecological problems) sinkholes are to be expected.

Might be this is causing a cluster of sinkholes?

Could be worse, think of Chernobyl?

And this might be a spelunker's version of Paradise.
The number of sinkholes in that area may be mostly down to cost-cutting and poor road construction. Clearly those roads don't have appropriate steel reinforcement.
Mythopoeika said:
The number of sinkholes in that area may be mostly down to cost-cutting and poor road construction. Clearly those roads don't have appropriate steel reinforcement.
How many roads in this country have "steel reinforcement"? I've been watching a few construction and road building projects recently, and most roads have various foundation materials (rock, rubble, specially selected soil, etc), all compacted nicely by various machines such as rollers, and then overlaid with a few coats of asphalt.

I have seen sections of road (and bridges, of course) built of steel-reinforced concrete, but only where they were expected to bear abnormally high loads, such as a heavy crane and a big lift, for example.
Even rebar is going to fail with a big hole below.

A sinkhole is a cavern, the top of which has eroded away, Some are large, some small, the sacred cenotes of Central America are sikkholes

Fact is, any limestone cavern close to the surface will become a sinkhole, sooner or later.

However, a cluster of such is suspicious, but perhaps it's best to get them located all at once. If they want a subway system, well, it's a thought?
A new one:

Car swallowed by sinkhole on suburban Chicago street
The vehicle was one of three cars which toppled into a sinkhole after a water main burst in the South Deering area of the city.
5:36PM BST 19 Apr 2013

A rainstorm pummeling the Chicago area ripped open a sinkhole that swallowed three cars, injuring one driver badly enough that he had to be taken to hospital.

The gaping sinkhole opened up a residential street in the South Deering area of the city in the early hours of Thursday morning after a cast iron water main dating back to 1915 broke during the massive storm.

The hole spanned the entire width of the road. Only the bonnet of one of the vehicles could be seen peeking from the chasm.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... treet.html