“The Assumption Parish sinkhole swallowed a substantial amount of cypress trees on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, pulling them down into the bubbly, muddy hole near Bayou Corne. Parish officials were at the site and were able to capture the rare event on video as reported by WAFB.: ~Danielle CoxNew Orleans News Examiner
But don’t just think sinkholes only happen everywhere else. Las Vegas has had it surprise sinkholes too.
8 News Now LAS VEGAS, June 18, 2010-- A large sinkhole in the middle of a Las Vegas street sent one woman to the hospital and shut down water in nearby neighborhoods for several hours. The sinkhole opened at around 6pm Friday near Nellis and Desert Inn.
Officials say a 24 inch water line running under the intersection of Desert Inn and Nellis developed a leak. Workers were dispatched to the area. They turned the water off to fix it, but then realized they needed parts, so they turned the water back on. They called for a crew to come and shut down the lane. Before it could be shut down, however, a woman drove over the asphalt, and it gave way.
There seems to be a frightening amount of new sinkholes opening up and swallowing places, people, and things all over the country and the world in the last couple of years. Is this a new curse upon the land, and how can we protect ourselves from these seemingly random disaster zones?
What can we learn?
According to Wikipedia “Sinkholes are common where the rock below the land surface is limestone or other carbonate rock, salt beds, or other rocks that can naturally be dissolved by circulating ground water. As the rock dissolves, spaces and caverns develop underground. These sinkholes can be dramatic, because the surface land usually stays intact until there is not enough support. Then, a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinkhole
Sinkholes are certainly nothing new on the earth. The Battle of the Sink Hole was fought just after the War of 1812 in the Missiouri and Illinois territories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Sink_Hole . An entire parked bus fell into a sinkhole in 2003 in Portugal. Heavy rains from tropical storm Agatha likely triggered the collapse of a huge sinkhole in Guatemala a few years ago that swallowed up almost half a village. The Winter Park Sinkhole in Florida swallowed up 250,000 cubic yards of soil, five Porches, an Olympic size swimming pool, two streets, and a three bedroom home in 1981. The Great Blue Hole in Lighthouse Reef off the coast of Belize is more than 984 feet across and 407 feet deep. Earlier this year a massive hole opened up in Guangzhou, China, and swallowed an entire building complex, next to a new underground train station.
But maybe what may frighten us most is the unexpected human damage a sinkhole can do. We remember Jeff Bush and Florida man who was killed this year when a 200 foot wide sink hole opened up and swallowed him and his house as he slept in his own bed.
How do we protect ourselves from sudden sinkhole disaster?
• Watch for signs of water disappearing from the surface (for example, the sudden loss of a steam or retention pond).
If you see a sinkhole appear:
• If a sinkhole occurs in an area of traffic, barricade it to prevent motorists or pedestrians from getting to close to it.
• Remember that the size can continue to increase, so barricade it with ample room to spare.
• Check fields before undertaking machine-related activities, such as haying or harvesting.
• Keep tractors and heavy machinery far enough away from the sinkhole, since the ground near the edge can easily give way. It is recommended that machinery stay at least as far from the edge as the hole is deep.
Can we anticipate sinkhole activity?
• Sinkholes will be more prevalent during times of increased and rapid rainfall, such as with the type of rains occurring during a hurricane.
What else can we do?
• Call 9-1-1 and advise them of the sinkhole and of the hole is near utility lines or in a roadway.
• If the sinkhole is on your personal property, contact your insurance provider for additional instructions.
• Restrict access to the hole.
• Don't get to close to or go down into the hole.
• Do not allow unauthorized or inexperienced persons to investigate the sinkhole.