Sinkholes: Swallowing everything, including the kitchen sink

If you were horrifically fascinated (horrafinated?) by the sinkhole that swallowed Floridian Jeff Bush and his entire bedroom a week ago, you might be interested in some sinkhole science. The US Geological Survey says that sinkholes are a geologic thing. Certain areas of the country are more prone than others (which you probably knew already). But the formation of actual sinkholes in those sinkhole-prone environments can apparently be prompted by human activities, ranging from old mines that weaken the ground above them; to groundwater pumping that destabilizes the soil; to (get this) leaky faucets. The USGS does not say how many leaky faucets, or how bad a leak, it might take to trigger a sinkhole, but the basic idea is that saturating usually dry soil could cause it to shift, so you'd assume it would have to mean a lot of water leaking into the soil under the house.


  1. When tunneling machines burrow under city streets, they will sometimes over-excavate too much material causing a sinkhole at the surface.

  2. “Need I remind you there is a sinkhole in Bayou Corne/Grand Bayou, LA which was declared a State of Emergency.. on August 3rd, where 150 households were forced to evacuate from the area and are living in campers, hotels, rent houses, etc. There are mini earthquakes, methane, benzene and hydrogen sulfide being released into the community. Th(e) community has been through hell and back and are still living a nightmare.”
     -excerpted from letter from Bayou Corne Resident to Bobby Jindal

    The sinkhole of sinkholes in the USA. A gift to the people of Bayou Corne from Texas Brine Company.  Erin Brockovich on location.

  3. The billion gallons of water per day pumped out of the aquifer to save the strawberry crop from the recent freeze might have something to do with it.

  4. It may take a lot of water, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a lot of water at once. Think about the immense water-created formations in caves that are built, literally, one drop at a time. A small persistent leak might not be as bad as a rushing torrent, but given time…

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