When the earth opens up
August 30, 2018 10:24 AM   Subscribe

#8 is... just a well? Sinkholes usually aren't bricked on the sides, are they?

Perhaps I don't understand sinkholes.
posted by Grither at 10:43 AM on August 30

The most fascinating ones are those that look like cartoon holes. Just punched out holes to the void, like someone took a cylinder selection of the world and hit delete. My favourite is the one with rich people cars in it that look like toy matchbox cars.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:55 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]

Number 3 is the one that scares me. It's just so smooth, and so deep. Looks so wrong.

The ones that are bricked, I assume they were filled in and then the soil collapsed? Because otherwise they're not so much sinkholes as just... undiscovered holes, right?
posted by stillnocturnal at 11:08 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]

It's missing the Gypsum sinkhole in Capitol Reef National Park.

It's.... impressively big if you are standing next to it. Pictures just straight up do not do it justice.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:09 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]

Yeah, #3 is the type of thing that made primitive man believe in eldritch forces.
posted by Horkus at 11:16 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]

I'm reminded of the destruction of Port Royal, when an earthquake turned the ground to liquid and people and structures sank into the earth.
posted by SPrintF at 12:14 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]

These are only remarkable because they opened in populated areas. There are really large sinkholes in lots of undeveloped areas. The Chinese call them Tiankeng. Like this one.
The Xiaozhai Tiankeng is 626 meters (2,054 ft) long, 537 meters (1,762 ft) wide, and between 511 and 662 meters (1,677–2,172 ft) deep, with vertical walls. Its volume is 119,349,000 m³ and the area of its opening is 274,000 m².
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:40 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]

Let's not forget the Bayou Corne sink hole! That sucker formed when a brine storage well drilled too close to the side of a salt dome failed at -5000 ft.
posted by Dabbling Duck at 2:04 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]

As a Florida resident, this is the substance of my nightmares.
posted by Splunge at 2:10 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]

I wonder which would win, if I came across one of these: Curiosity to lean over the edge and see what was down there, or fear of going anywhere near the place where the big hole just appeared. Only one of these reactions shows up in the photos, so it's hard to guess which is more usual.
posted by sfenders at 2:24 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]

Poor Corvettes...
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 2:40 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]

The hole swallowed a car—which was not recovered—and the nine-meter-deep crater was filled with 300 tons of concrete.

I want to believe that 10000 years from now this car will be excavated and pondered about by future archeologists.

Let's not forget the Bayou Corne sink hole!

You think you understand things about the world, and then you see a bunch of trees getting swallowed under water by a hole. It's life changing.
posted by numaner at 2:47 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]

#9 is a Leda clay landslide, not a sinkhole. Also known as quick clay, that stuff can liquify almost instantly. Lots of that in the Ottawa area where I live.
posted by fimbulvetr at 2:58 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]

This reads like the opening line to a story:
Inocenta del Rosal Hernandez, 65, awoke to a loud boom and found the earth under her bed had imploded, creating a circular hole.
posted by doctornemo at 2:59 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]

In #11 it looks like the truck dropped into the hole and caught these three gentlemen's heads along the way.
posted by doctornemo at 3:00 PM on August 30

Historically, and not unreasonably, sinkholes were feared. The Maya threw sacrifices in the cenotes, possibly to placate the gods and prevent them, but who knows. They are a regular news feature in central Florida, but also occur in the Bahamas as “ blue holes.” Cool diving, though.
posted by sudogeek at 4:07 PM on August 30

When the sinkhole in the Corvette museum opened I learned that the the rarest Corvette ever is the 1983 Corvette. Why? Because the build quality of the 1983 Corvette was so bad GM refused to release them. Think about it. Think of the shittiest 1983 American car you can think of, and the 1983 Corvette was shittier than that. The Chevy Chevette? Shittier. The Chevy Citation? Shittier. It's the nadir of 1980's automotive manufacturing, and that's why there's only one.
And it fell into a sinkhole.
posted by Floydd at 4:28 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]

Damn. This is what The Atlantic Monthly has become?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 6:11 PM on August 30

The one being filled with cement reminded me that the only natural enemy of the hole is the pile.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:16 PM on August 30

As a Florida resident, this is the substance of my nightmares.
posted by Splunge at 4:10 PM on August 30 [1 favorite +] [!]
Subsidence of your nightmares, surely.
posted by Horkus at 6:30 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]

No. 8 looks suspiciously like a drainage structure (manhole in layman's terms). Note the line (pipe) entering from the upper right. If so, there would be a large pipe opening into the sides at the bottom. These things can get covered up poorly (sheet of plywood or boards or sheet of metal that rusts thrown over the top of the hole. Soil accumulates over the cover till it doesn't accumulate but instead disappears.
Speaking of "piping" - when is a sinkhole not a sinkhole? No. 3 makes it's appearance in
National Geographic News.
Which I'd guess is the same cause as No. 7 in Philly. We get these all the time, my town is over 200 years old and many of our drainage lines are old brick tunnels. The city has a term contract let out annually to fix these things.
posted by rudd135 at 7:06 PM on August 30

Let's not forget the Bayou Corne sink hole! That sucker formed when a brine storage well drilled too close to the side of a salt dome failed at -5000 ft.
posted by Dabbling Duck at 2:04 PM on August 30
[+] [!]

Maybe you are conflating the Texas Brine sinkhole with Lake Peigneur? Or maybe not..

Guess what happened to the public official in charge of Texas Brine's permits at the time of the accident?

If you guessed that the president made him head of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement for offshore oil drilling, congrats! Welcome to the United States!
posted by eustatic at 7:31 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]

I'm so disappointed. I misread it as a collection of shitholes, by Kottke, and I was looking forward to what he had to say about all the shitholes.
posted by yhbc at 9:48 PM on August 30

This is nightmare fuel in Kansas, too. My hometown has been host to salt-mining operations for more than a century. A few sinkholes opened on the property of one of the companies when I was growing up. I haven't found a map to see where the tunnels are to know if I could find myself on the business end of a sinkhole without warning. But there are a lot of old and current salt mines in the region.
posted by bryon at 9:57 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]

Is this just buzz marketing for donut county?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:11 AM on August 31

National Geographic:
The Guatemala City sinkhole, estimated to be 60 feet (18 meters) wide and 300 feet (100 meters) deep, appears to have been triggered by the deluge from tropical storm Agatha.

But the cavity formed in the first place because the city—and its underground infrastructure—were built in a region where the first few hundred meters of ground are mostly made up of a material called pumice fill, deposited during past volcanic eruptions.

"Lots of times, volcanic pumice originates as a flow [of loose, gravel-like particles], and because of the heat and the weight, it becomes welded into solid rock," Bonis said.

"In Guatemala City [the pumice is] unconsolidated, it's loose," he said. "It hasn't been hardened into a rock yet, so it's easily eroded, especially by swift running water."
When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, Son, the strongest city in all of Guatemala.
posted by flabdablet at 6:57 AM on August 31

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