Gargantuan sinkhole surprises farm worker at sunrise in New Zealand

Last week, a worker on a farm in New Zealand was rounding up cows before sunrise when he noticed a massive sinkhole, almost falling into it while riding on his motorbike. But it wasn't until daylight that anyone realized how massive the sinkhole was – six stories deep and the length of two foot ball fields – thought to be the largest ever in New Zealand, according to Science Alert.

It looks more like a canyon than a sinkhole:

The sinkhole, near the city of Rotorua in an area called Earthquake Flat, looks like it's been forming for up to 100 years. From Science Alert:

What is thought to be the largest known sinkhole in New Zealand has ripped open across a farm on NZ's North Island, revealing a gigantic cavernous void estimated to have been decades or even a century in the making...

"The largest I've seen prior to this would be about a third of the size of this, so this is really big," volcanologist Brad Scott from Kiwi geoscience firm GNS Science told AP...

According to Scott, the sinkhole could have been forming for up to 100 years, after decades of rainfall slowly eroded the farm's limestone rock foundations.

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Sinkhole opens in front of Mar-a-Lago, funny tweets abound

A 4x4 sinkhole has opened up in front of Mar-a-Lago on Southern Boulevard in Palm Beach, FL. It hasn't swallowed anything up, so as far as sinkholes go, it doesn't seem major. But it's inspired some fun tweets:

For more details, here's the scoop from 25WPBF News:

Thanks The Washington Post! Read the rest

Timelapse of giant sinkhole repair in Japan

It took just days for a construction crew to repair a road that collapsed into a sinkhole in the business district of Fukuoka, Japan.

From CNN:

After the sinkhole appeared on November 8, subcontractors worked around the clock to fill in the 30 meter (98 ft) wide, 15 meter (50 ft) deep hole by the 12th with a mixture of sand and cement. The job was complicated by the water which had seeped in from sewage pipes destroyed by collapsing sections of road.

After that it only took another 48 hours to reinstall all utilities -- electricity, water, sewage, gas and telecommunication lines -- and to resurface the road. There were no reports of injuries.

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Sinkhole swallows house's backyard

Mr. and Mrs. McKays live in a house built near a 100-year-old mineshaft near Brisbane, Australia. This week, a giant water-filled sinkhole appeared in their back yard. Fortunately, it looks like the house itself won't be damaged and the city is confident it can fill the hole.

“You can see this shaft was full up with rubbish and bottles and whoever did it (filled it), didn’t follow very good practices, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale told AP. "We will take all the steps to get Lyn and Ray back in their house. It’s the mines department’s responsibility.”

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Sinkholes swallowing people in China this month

If you're heading to China, watch where you step. Last month it was escalators pulling people underground in China, with three separate accidents, including one that killed a mother after she managed to save her son. Now it's sinkholes, including one that swallowed five people yesterday at a bus stop. And this is just two weeks after an entire street collapsed in Dongguan China, pulling over 3,000 square feet down below street level and killing at least one person.

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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. Read the rest