Giant sinkhole has a forest at the bottom

A team of Chinese scientists has discovered a giant new sinkhole with a forest at its bottom…The sinkhole is 630 feet (192 meters) deep, according to the Xinhua news agency, deep enough to just swallow St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. A team of speleologists and spelunkers rappelled into the sinkhole on Friday (May 6), discovering that there are three cave entrances in the chasm, as well as ancient trees 131 feet (40 m) tall, stretching their branches toward the sunlight that filters through the sinkhole entrance.

George Veni (executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in the U.S) said…The discovery is no surprise…because southern China is home to karst topography, a landscape prone to dramatic sinkholes and otherworldly caves. Karst landscapes are formed primarily by the dissolution of bedrock, Veni said. Rainwater, which is slightly acidic, picks up carbon dioxide as it runs through the soil, becoming more acidic. It then trickles, rushes and flows through cracks in the bedrock, slowly widening them into tunnels and voids. Over time, if a cave chamber gets large enough, the ceiling can gradually collapse, opening up huge sinkholes.

Fascinating article. I’m familiar with sinkholes here in the States; but, some of the examples found in southern China are seriously unique.

Sinkhole swallows car, driver climbs out and up a ladder to safety


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A sinkhole swallowed a car as it was traveling down a street in Toledo, Ohio, and the 60-year-old driver climbed out of the hole using a ladder supplied by rescue workers…

A water main break or heavy rains may have caused the sinkhole to open up under the street on Wednesday as the woman was driving down it, fire department Lieutenant Tom Kuhman said.

“She saw the car in front of her kind of almost go in but her car, being already in motion, was unable to avoid it,” he said…

The woman was unhurt and climbed out of the hole using a ladder, helped by a firefighter.

The biggest city here in New Mexico is Albuquerque. Part of how it grew was the railroad going west along the Mexican border. A big part has been the military and our government’s devotion to weapons of mass destruction. Between air force bases and national labs like Sandia and Los Alamos, taxpayer dollars dedicated to death and destruction put three squares a day on a lot of New Mexico tables. Very little of that goes to infrastructure for civilians.

Albuquerque has as many as three water main failures a week like this. You can time construction matching the growth of the city to wars. World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War. When the water system was laid down and apparently targeting a 50-year-replacement cycle. Long past – and never done.

Yeah, another tale of infrastructure self-destructing around us and under us.

Sinkhole eats state highway in Ohio

In Ohio a massive sinkhole has eaten away part of a state highway and now threatens nearby houses as well. It’s estimated to be the size of four football fields.

The state highway has been badly damaged and will have to be closed for months.

The sinkhole began as a pond on land where the Newton Asphalt Company had been dredging for sand. The dredging may have eroded enough of the land near the pond to cause a collapse.

Think so?

It had happened so quickly that Newton employees had to run to the road to warn traffic the road had fallen in.

Experts think it could be well into 2013 before permanent repairs can be made.

If we’re lucky, the state of Ohio will award the repair bid to the Newton Asphalt Company – and they will provide more entertainment.

Giant sinkhole in Guatemala

A huge sinkhole in Guatemala City, Guatemala, crashed into being on Sunday, reportedly swallowing a three-story building—and echoing a similar, 2007 sinkhole in Guatemala.

The sinkhole has likely been weeks or even years in the making—floodwaters from tropical storm Agatha caused the sinkhole to finally collapse, scientists say.

The sinkhole appears to be about 60 feet (18 meters) wide and about 30 stories deep, said James Currens, a hydrogeologist at the University of Kentucky…

Depending on the makeup of the subsurface layer, the Guatemala sinkhole “could eventually enlarge and take in more buildings,” he said.

Typically, officials fill in sinkholes with large rocks and other debris. But the 2010 Guatemala sinkhole “is so huge that it’s going to take a lot of fill material to fill it,” Currens said.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

If it was here in New Mexico, we’d turn it into a tourist attraction and charge admission.