Mar 052013
 

Sinkholes are scary, unpredictable, and so annoying. You just never know when one might happen or where. And while there are certain places where they are “more likely” to occur, thousands occur each year, and they are increasing in frequency.

Geologists estimate that approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface has the potential to be prone to sinkholes. The cause is sometimes different in each case and while some are naturally caused, others aren’t. Things like sandy or loose soil, abandoned mines, fracking, new construction, acidic groundwater, aged and leaking water pipes as well as other causes are adding to their numbers. Anytime the support system under the ground breaks down or if the weight of the land surface changes, underground collapses (and then sinkholes) can be triggered.

They are common in some places like Florida or Guatemala, but they have been occurring with regular frequency in other US states as well as in Venezuela and China.

The one that just happened last week in Florida where a man apparently lost his life (I use the word “apparently” because I read they are not going to try and recover his body) was caused by water erosion of the bedrock below the land surface of their house. It is unusual for there to be loss of life with sinkholes.

This would actually be the perfect way to “disappear off the face of the earth.” I know you are thinking, how cruel, a man lost his life after all.

But seriously, they put mementos into that approximately 60 ft. deep hole and then dumped in gravel to fill it in. It was determined that the ground around the hole was too unstable to attempt a rescue, or “recovery” attempt. I understand that we don’t want to put any more lives in danger. I know it’s unstable, but I also feel like if they could bring a dump truck full of stone and equipment to knock down the rest of the house… couldn’t they try more than just lowering a microphone and video equipment to find any signs of life. Or to be sure he was dead? I guess not. The sinkhole occurred Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, they presumed that Jeffrey was dead.

And therein lies the perfect start for a novel.

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