Sinkholes happen unexpectedly from time to time. But when they do happen, it is sudden and can cause a tragedy. If a massive sinkhole were to collapse right now, what would happen? Let’s explore.
Sinkholes happen when the area or the rock beneath the land surface is made from limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks. These sedimentary types of rocks and beds dissolve in water very easily. Groundwater circulating through dissolves and creates empty huge spaces or caverns beneath the land surface.
When the empty spaces slowly get bigger and bigger, they are unable to hold the land above. The sudden collapse can end up destroying lives and literally, everything that sits on it. Pretty scary right?
Terrifying Sinkholes In The USA
The largest sinkhole in the USA is the Golly Hole, located in Shelby County, Alabama. It is about 325 feet long, 300 feet wide, and 120 feet deep.
Earlier this year, Daisetta, Texas went through some devastating impacts with a sinkhole. It first appeared in 2008 at just around 20 feet. But the massive sinkhole that was considered stable for more than a decade started expanding. The sinkhole grew itself up to 600 feet (183 m) across and 75 feet (23 m) deep. Terrifyingly, it’s hard to see when or how much of the land a sinkhole can swallow.
In recent months another sinkhole ripped open up to 75 feet in Polk County, Florida. If it is not scary enough, the authorities have said that it is also ‘slowly growing.‘ There are around 25 significant-sized sinkholes across the USA.
There are areas in the United States that are susceptible to such sinkholes. Catastrophic sinkholes can take place in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Salt, gypsum, and anhydrite are some of the rock types that lie under 35% to 40% of the land in the U.S.A. They are currently in great depths. But they have very much of a chance to dissolve in underground water!
Unleashing of a Catastrophe
If the largest sinkhole collapses, things will without a doubt get catastrophic! The first thing that would happen is that the ground would suddenly collapse. Everything that is on the land surface will start to sink.
This would destroy buildings and infrastructure in the area. No matter how giant of construction it is, it will get swallowed up. The bridges will fall to the ground. Roads and everything that is near the sinking area will rip apart and will sink in minutes!
The sinkhole would also create a large amount of dust and debris. That could be harmful to people and the environment. If the sinkhole were to collapse completely, it would create a void in the ground. The collapse of the Golly Hole could contaminate groundwater supplies.
The sinkhole could also release harmful gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. It could also cause flooding, as the water from the surrounding area would be drawn into the sinkhole.
If massive buildings and everything fall down in minutes, what hope can humans have? If not predicted and warned on time, hundreds of lives will be lost within seconds. Many people would be displaced from their homes. It could take years for the affected areas to recover.
Sinkholes occur when rocks beneath the ground dissolve, creating empty spaces that can’t support the land above. The sudden collapse would destroy buildings, create dust, and harm the environment. If a massive sinkhole like the Golly Hole in the USA were to collapse, it would be disastrous. Groundwater could be contaminated, harmful gases might be released, and flooding could occur. So, sinkholes can cause immense destruction and upheaval in affected areas.