Friday, March 15, 2013
I find the subject of sink holes fascinating, especially since we are hearing more and more about it in recent days. What causes huge deep holes, like the one that swallowed a Florida man in his bedroom, to open up in the earth? This is another one of these things I had never heard about and now it is happening every day. The news reported a man playing golf in St. Louis, was swallowed up at the 14th hole by a 10 foot sink hole. Luckily or him, his quick thinks friends got him out, but not before he was traumatized. As I perused the internet I found that Harrisburg, Pennsylvania currently has 41 sinks holes that they can’t afford to fill because the city is bankrupt. Who the hell can feel safe living in Harrisburg? Even if they fill these holes, where will the next ones open up. This has been an ongoing issue there since 2010.
The top states at risk for developing sink holes are: Texas, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky…but I heard New Jersey was having issues too. Who knows what other states will be added to the list in the weeks and months ahead. The issue has to do with (simple version) the water underground that erodes the soil over time and causes it to collapse. No one tracks the number of sink holes, but I read that CNN did an investigation that revealed from 2006 to 2010, in Florida alone, almost 25,000 insurance claims were made for sink hole issues. The insurance companies are now raising their rates for sink hole coverage.
Some of these holes are enormous. They can swallow homes, buildings and even football fields. It’s mind boggling. I thought the issue was purely Mother Nature at work, but that’s not necessarily true. Sink holes can also result from drilling for a mine or well and even from putting up buildings and parking lots which changes the way water drains and is absorbed. So there is another environmental hazard being made worse by mankind. It s reported that the massive sink hole in Guatemala was probably the result of “human activity.”
It’s a devastating problem. The ground literally just opens up without warning. The area where the Florida man lost his life was tested for sink holes just a couple of months before the incident happened. So apparently it’s not easy to spot a problem until after it happens. All the people in surrounding homes had to leave the area. No one knows how wide and deep the hole will continue to grow.
I’m hoping that scientists and investigators will continue to study this problem and offer some remedies and preventative suggestions to this issue. It’s a terrifying thought to think you can be walking down a street and just disappear…it reminds me of the Twilight Zone. And just because we may not live on a state prone to sink holes, doesn’t mean we are not at risk. The human causes of sink holes exists everywhere there are buildings and parking lots…which in my own New York City…is just about every square inch.
If you are interested in sink holes and want to see what they look like, just Google them. There are tons of pictures online and these things are scary!