Sinkholes (The Blogger of the Week)

Posted: 23rd April 2015 by hyoon7682 in updates
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Various sinkholes [12]

Have you ever worried that you might be swallowed by a mysterious hole, never to be seen again?

On January 21st, in Arroyo Grande, California, 20 rescue workers struggled to pull out a horse – yes you read it right, a horse -, from a terrifying sinkhole.

  On February 20th, in Seoul, South Korea, two pedestrians fell 10 feet down through the pavement on a city street.

On February 22nd, in Italy, a 33 foot – section of Naples sank into the earth, and 380 people had to be evacuated for their safety.

These are ONLY 3 of the most recent examples of sinkholes (for more examples, click here). What causes these unexpected phenomena? Why do they happen?

There are two reasons why sinkholes occur: natural causes and human activities.


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How Collapse Sinkhole Form [13]

There are three types of natural sinkholes: solution sinkholes, subsidence sinkholes, and collapse sinkholes. All of the natural sinkholes occur as a result of a long period of erosion.

Solution Sinkhole

This sinkhole occurs when limestone or other soluble rocks are exposed to the surface due to lack of topsoil or vegetation. It is then slowly dissolved by rain, surface water and wind. [1] Usually this type of sinkhole is not dangerous and damage can be avoided by filling it in with topsoil.

Subsidence Sinkhole

The subsidence sinkhole is very similar to the solution sinkhole except that the soluble bedrock is covered by a thin layer of soil. First, the bedrock will have small cavities and cracks. Over the time, the soil or ground starts to slip into the cavities and cracks, and expands them. The surface starts to depress, causing it to cave in. This sinkhole can be turned into small ponds and over a certain period of time, it can also form a lake. [2]

Collapse Sinkhole

The collapse sinkhole is the one you would most likely see in news and it is the most dangerous of the three natural sinkholes. This sinkhole forms through acidic rain seeping down into the ground. Then ultimately it gets to carbonate rock (limestone), or other soluble rocks and minerals. The acidic water slowly erodes the rocks, which causes a gap between the soils. This can lead to a collapse, depending on how much the surface can withstand. Usually, this process of erosion progresses for a very long time. [3]

Sinkholes aren’t only caused naturally; many sinkholes are man made.

For example, sinkholes can occur as a result of…… [4]

  • Mining
  • Heavy vehicle and foot traffic
  • Drilling/vibrations
  • Bursting water pipes
  • Over withdrawal of groundwater

As I mentioned earlier, the sinkhole in Naples, Italy was caused by the bursting water pipes and heavy rain. The sinkhole that happened in Seoul, Korea could have been caused by the apartment construction nearby.


 With today’s technology, it’s hard to tell for sure whether you are in danger of getting sucked into the ground. Currently, NASA may be able to predict when and where sinkholes will open up using routine radar images. For example, after analyzing the 2012 Louisiana radar data, NASA scientists were able to catch a large depression before a sinkhole occurred. [5]

  However, this isn’t a 100% sure. The radar might not be able to catch all the sinkholes that could happen. But this is the technology we could develop to predict sinkholes.

  In addition to NASA’s technology, there are ways to see the warning signs of sinkholes. [6]

  • Doors and windows don’t close properly (where they used to close properly)
  • Cracks in the ground that form a circular pattern
  • Turbidity in water from wells where it used to be clear
  • Water or rain collecting in a place where it didn’t used to


  Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do to avoid being sucked into sinkholes. One thing a person should not do is build or buy houses that have limestone underneath them, since limestone is especially vulnerable to erosion.


  August 2nd, 2012: a man fell and died after he was swallowed up by an enormous sinkhole in Taiwan. This sinkhole was caused by heavy rains.

September 17th, 2013: A Missouri hunter fell to his death in a 70 foot deep sinkhole, which is also caused by heavy rain.

April 22nd, 2014: in China, three people died after their house fell in a 150 foot deep sinkhole. It may have been caused by mining near the area.

For more information, go to

On the other hand, sinkholes sometimes could be looked as something else than a natural disaster. 


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Bimmah Sinkhole, in Oman [14]

There are many spectacular places that were created by sinkholes around the world. For example, the sinkhole in Bimmah, Oman became an attraction for visitors. Many tourists like to visit to see the magnificent phenomenon and to swim in the emerald-tinted water. It was also named the world’s most stunning sinkhole by Mail Online News [7] and one of the places you should visit in your life by Fantastic Viewpoints. [8]

Another well-known sinkhole is called the Devil’s Hole, also known as Devil’s Toliet Bowl, in Florida. For many years, visitors enjoyed swimming in the lake created by this sinkhole, but it is now privately owned. [9]


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Cartoon on sinkhole [15]

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Cartoon on sinkhole [16]


Sinkholes have also inspired many artists, authors, and directors to make movies, manga, anime, and books about sinkholes. For example, a manga that was published in Korea, written by In Wan Yoon and illustrated by Seon Hee Kim, was inspired by different disasters, especially by sinkholes. The story takes place in a massive sinkhole. [10]

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Realistic 3D painting on street by Erik Johansson [17]

Another example would be street art in Stockholm, where Erik Johansson, a photographer and retoucher from Sweden [11], painted an amazing 3D sinkhole illusion on the street.

A sinkhole also appears in Springfield in ‘The Simpsons Movie’.

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Sinkhole in Simpson’s movie [18]



1. Have you ever been sucked into a sinkhole? If you have, how was it?

2. Do you think there are any other good impacts of sinkholes?

3. What other interesting facts do you know about sinkholes, or what would you like to know?

Please leave comment on what you think! Make sure you also answer the questions!! 



[1],. ‘SINKHOLES’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

[2],. ‘Sinkhole Information | Sinkholeguide.Com’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

[3] Henley, Jon. ‘What Are Sinkholes And What Causes Them?‘. the Guardian. N.p., 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

[4],. ‘The Science Of Sinkholes | Science Features’. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[5] The Huffington Post,. ‘Space Agency May Have Way To Predict Sinkholes’. N.p., 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

[6] WeatherBug Know Before,. ‘That Sinking Feeling – Sinkhole 101 – Weatherbug Know Before‘. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[7] Mail Online,. ‘The World’s Most Stunning Sinkhole: Cavernous Limestone Bowl Is So Beautiful It’s Become A Tourist Attraction‘. N.p., 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[8] Fantastic Viewpoint,. ‘Places You Should Visit In Your Life’. N.p., 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[9] Hole,. ‘Devil’s Hole’. Roadtrippers. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[10] 삼성화재 화제만발 블로그,. ‘웹툰, <심연의 하늘> ‘윤인완 작가’를 만나다! … ‘싱크홀’, 작가의 상상 속 재난이 리얼한 이유?’. N.p., 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[11] Johansson, Erik. ‘About – Erik Johansson’. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

[12]Mathiesen, Karl. ‘Are Humans Causing More Sinkholes?’. the Guardian. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 June 2015.

[13]Todd Legal, P.A. ‘Florida Homeowners Insurance Sinkhole Claims Analysis: Sinkholes And Msjs On The Stabilization Repairs (Pre-408 Policies) | First Party Property Insurance Blog’. N.p., 2013. Web. 4 June 2015.

[14]Fantastic Viewpoint,. ‘Places You Should Visit In Your Life’. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 June 2015.

[15],. ‘심연의 하늘 – 시즌2 10화’. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 June 2015.

[16],. ‘심연의 하늘 – 시즌2 10화’. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 June 2015.

[17] Consumer Instinct,. ‘Saga Of The Street Art: It’S All In 3D! (4)’. N.p., 2012. Web. 4 June 2015.

[18]Simpsons Wiki,. ‘Sink Hole’. N.p., 2015. Web. 4 June 2015.

  1. Clarissa D. says:

    I loved this post, Esther. It’s certainly an interesting topic. I was just wondering if you knew what size the biggest sinkhole in history was? I’d love to know.

  2. Brianna G. says:

    Hey this is a great post and I was wondering, is there a total number of people that have died from sinkholes or an approximation?

    • Esther Y says:

      Thank you 🙂 and there isn’t clear estimation on the total number of people that have died from sinkholes. But to give a general idea, deaths caused by sinkholes are very rare because sinkholes are localized (people are usually (severely) injured).

  3. Subhan A says:

    Excellent post Esther! It is clear that you put a lot of work and effort into this, and you researched this topic well. I have learned a lot from this, and it is something that I never really knew anything about. One piece of advice, move some of your images and citations near the inspiration section because it looks messy and the text collides with the image.

    1. Have you ever been sucked into a sinkhole? If you have, how was it?
    No, I have not. After reading this post, I hope I never do!

    2. Do you think there are any other good impacts of sinkholes?
    Sinkholes are very dangerous. But as you have said, they can be tourist attractions and some of them are extremely beautiful and nice to look at!

    3. What other interesting facts do you know about sinkholes, or what would you like to know?
    I would like to know how many die from sinkholes every year. Also do some countries have more sinkholes than others, why or why not? Thanks!

    • Esther Y says:

      Thank you for your comment Subhan! I am glad that you learned new things about sinkholes. Also, thank you for the advice, I will definitely take that advice and fix my layout.

      1&2: Yes, no one would ever want to be sucked into a sinkhole, yet it could become one of the attraction for tourists.

      3: There aren’t clear answer to how many people died from sinkholes, but deaths from sinkholes are quite rare and the damage also depends on how big the collapse sinkholes is and where it occurs. For example, six people died from the sinkholes that occurred in Crimean capital. As I explained earlier in the blog post, sinkholes are caused by the erosion of soluble bedrock, especially limestones. Eastern US, especially Florida, where there are a lot of limestone, has the most potential to have sinkholes. (Many sinkholes occur in Florida because it has a lot of limestone bedrocks)

  4. Mohamed M. says:

    Great post and interesting topic. I have never been stuck in a sinkhole before, but I have seen one and my dad got stuck in one. He fell in a previously collapsed sinkhole that wasn’t fixed or covered. He was badly injured and had to go to the hospital, but he is fine now.
    I don’t think that sinkholes have any good impacts.

    • Esther Y says:

      Thank you for sharing your story! I glad that your dad has been fully recovered from his injuries. I understand how you think that sinkholes does not have any good impacts, especially since one of your family member had fell into the sinkhole and got injured.

  5. Rauwn s says:

    This is an excellent post Esther :). you have a lot of interesting facts but i do wonder one thing about this. Why is this not more talked about? It should talked about a lot more because it seems as if it is a really big issue and no one is doing about it. What do you think about it? Should people be taught about sink-holes more? Personally is it a big issue in the world?

    • Esther Y says:

      Thank you for commenting. Sinkholes weren’t really big issue until lately because many sinkholes didn’t occur as frequently as now. I think people should be more aware of dangers of sinkholes and how to avoid them and media can be big part of this. At the same time, I think there should be more researches about sinkholes and technologies to avoid them because sinkholes could be extremely dangerous. It is true that deaths are rare when it comes to sinkholes, but you never know where and how big the sinkhole could occur; so personally I think it is an issue that anyone should take a look at. What do you think? How do you think we could aware people more about sinkholes?

      • Rauwn s says:

        people should be more aware of sinkholes and a good way i think to get news about sinkholes out there is through media such as youtube or facebook. We could create a channel or a facebook page dedicated to sinkholes. What do you think about that?

      • Rauwn s says:

        And yes sinkholes look really dangerous and have proven to be really dangerous so i totally agree with your point that there should be a lot more research done on sinkholes.

      • Esther Y says:

        I think creating a channel or Facebook page just for sinkholes can be a bit too much. However, we could educate students about sinkholes in school. We don’t have to make it a huge deal or anything. Just like we learn about how tornados and hurricanes are formed, and what we need to do if we ever see one in elementary school, we can add sinkhole as one of the natural disasters we learn about. At the same time, we could have movies on sinkholes because it seems like one of most interesting to way to get people known about sinkholes.

  6. Laela S. says:

    Hey Easter bunny,your post makes me laugh honestly ,i know it would seem rude but i would totally laugh if someone tripped or got stuck in them(in a small one).I didn’t know just how big the holes were and based on the photos ,WOW thats crazy/scary especially how the man died in one.

    1. Have you ever been sucked into a sinkhole? If you have, how was it?
    No i haven’t, not huge ones maybe small ones on the streets but that’s it.

    2. Do you think there are any other good impacts of sinkholes?
    If i had to think of one it would probably be to educate the town or community about what could possibly happen if it happened once,how you can avoid it or maybe to even show people they should watch where their going.

    3. What other interesting facts do you know about sinkholes, or what would you like to know?
    I dont know anything really about sinkholes but I would like to know,your opinion if theirs any good impacts on sinkholes?(other than whats in your post)

    • Esther Y says:

      Haha, thank you for your comment :). It is true that sinkholes are scary and crazy. Think about it! You are walking in the street and randomly you fall into deep hole. Then you are stuck in a hole (stuff falling on top of you, optional), and you don’t know if you can survive through this. That would be traumatizing!
      I don’t really think there are other than what I have provided (including the one you have mentioned), especially since it is the one of the natural disaster which could kill many people.

  7. Subhan A says:

    Thanks for answering my question! I have learned a lot. 🙂

  8. Cameron H says:

    Great post there hyoon! aside from a few grammatical errors it was really great. I really hate to think that at any moment i could fall through the ground and die. So thanks for that. I don’t know what else to say but thanks for picking such a common yet untalked about topic.

  9. Abiha H. says:

    This post has certainly taught me something new! Previously, I did not know that sink holes existed.

    It is clear that you are well informed of, and have researched your topic. Though, I would recommend moving image references to the bottom of your article. Currently, they are a distraction from the post. Additionally, try removing spaces and condensing sentences into short paragraphs or bullet point lists.

    I cannot imagine any positive aspects to the formation of sink holes. They are dangerous, and potentially life-taking. Both, humans and animals could become severely injured.

    • Esther Y says:

      Thank you for your advices, I will go through my post and put my image references to the bottom and fix some of my sentence structures (I wouldn’t want them to become a distraction).
      You are very correct that sinkholes are very dangerous, my positive aspects of sinkholes are positive only if the sinkholes didn’t damage anyone or anything.

  10. Alex E. says:

    A great, informative post! The way you formatted the pictures made the post aesthetically pleasing. I especially liked the picture of the realistic 3-D painting on the street, although the two people “hovering” over the sinkhole ruined it a bit. 😛

    1. Have you ever been sucked into a sinkhole? If you have, how was it?
    No, not that I’m aware of.

    2. Do you think there are any other good impacts of sinkholes?
    I don’t personally think there’s anything good about them. They hurt or even kill people, and they don’t look good enough as tourist attractions for them to be a positive event.

    3. What other interesting facts do you know about sinkholes, or what would you like to know?
    I found it interesting that from 2006 to 2010 in Florida alone, there were 24,671 insurance claims for sinkhole damage, totaling a whopping $1.4 billion! I knew of the existence of sinkholes, but I didn’t know that their impact was this great.

    • Esther Y says:

      Thank you Alex! 😀 It is very interesting that there were over 24k insurance claims over four years just in Florida. It must be quite dangerous to live there.
      Sinkhole may seem like nothing but once it happens its impact is huge! We should really find a way to prevent sinkholes (if we can’t at least a way to prevent man-made sinkholes).

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