Croatian village fights holey war!

It happened suddenly and without warning. Where there should have been the emerging first shoots of potato seedlings behind the orchard in Nikola Borojević’s spacious garden, there was now huge hole. Measuring 30m (98ft) wide and 15m (49ft) deep, it quickly filled with water. And it wasn’t the only one.

Within the space of a few weeks, dozens of similar holes had opened up around the village of Mečenčani and neighbouring Borojovići in north-east Croatia. The one outside Borojević’s home in Mečenčani appeared on 5 January, just six days after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area around the nearby city of Petrinja. It was the strongest earthquake to have hit Croatia for more than four decades, killing seven people and destroying thousands of homes.

While landslides and sinkholes are known to be triggered by earthquakes, along with other strange geological phenomena such as liquefactions – where the solid ground begins to behave like a liquid – the sheer number of holes appearing around the two villages surprised and baffled experts. A month after the earthquake, there were almost 100 sinkholes spread over a 10 sq km (3.8 sq miles) area, with new ones opening every week…

After analysing data collected from the area around Mečenčani and Borojovići, Croatian geologists concluded that the strange events resulted from a complex combination of several different factors…

“The situation in Croatia can be considered as warning of what can happen in countries with earthquakes and areas that are prone to cover-collapse sinkholes,” says geologist George Veni.

RTFA. Interesting details. Bother your local geologists to see if there’s something comparable in your backyard.

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