Author Topic: Sinkholes  (Read 1808 times)

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« on: September 14, 2014, 07:28:21 PM »

Solid ground isn't always a certainty. Sinkholes can lurk anywhere, beneath suburban homes, city streets or even football stadiums and museums.

It's basic geology: Sinkholes open when soil collapses into large holes, caused by flowing water in underground limestone. Their toll can be dramatic, swallowing homes, trees or anything else on the collapsing ground even prized Corvettes.

The Southeastern U.S. is prime territory for the geological phenomena a potentially costly game of subterranean roulette.

In Tennessee, a sinkhole opened during renovations on the football stadium at Austin Peay State University. What started as a small hole turned into a chasm 40 feet deep and 40 feet wide as a repair crew dug to find its source.

In Kentucky, a sinkhole gobbled eight classic cars on display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. Corvettes, piled like toys in a heap of dirt and concrete fragments, became an Internet sensation, boosting museum attendance.

For every sinkhole that causes property damage, scores open in fields and other obscure places.

"In the Southeast U.S., there are hundreds of sinkholes every day and they don't get reported ... or they don't cause damage," said Jason Polk, professor of geology and geography at Western Kentucky University.

Elsewhere, in one extreme case, a 37-acre sinkhole opened two years ago in southern Louisiana and has been swallowing land ever since. Scientists believe it formed after an underground salt dome cavern had some sort of collapse or breach of its outer supporting sidewall of salt.

In Florida, the nation's most sinkhole-prone state, a sinkhole in 1981 swallowed sports cars, parts of two businesses, the deep end of a swimming pool and a three-bedroom Winter Park home. In 2013, a Florida man died when a sinkhole opened under his bedroom.
My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me....That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave."
Stonewall Jackson