Three homes were evacuated after a 7.5 m wide sinkhole oppened up in Rippon, North Yorkshire, on Monday 16 February 2014. Two homes have subsequently been re-occupied, but one home remains empty, having apparently suffered significant damage due to the hole. Nobody was hurt in the incident, although the familly dog needed to be rescued by the Fire Brigade.
A hundred-year-old detatched house in Rippon, North Yorkshire, which suffered structural damage after a sinkhole opened up on 16 February 2013. Press Association.
Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace.
According to the British Geological Survey the area around Rippon is particularly vulnerable to sinkholes, due to Permian gypsum deposits, which lie close to the surface, and which are readily soluble when rainwater filters through to them. The UK has suffered a series of sinkhole-related incidents this winter, due to exceptionallty high rainfall, which has caused a number of flooding related and geological problems accross the country.
See also Over 100 people forced from theor homes by landslide in Dundee, Scotland, Fifty meter sinkhole opens up in the Peak District, Derbyshire, At least twelve dead as Cyclone Bodil hits northern Europe, Five dead and one missing as western Europe is hit by worst Atlantic Storm in a decade and Woman dies as house destroyed by landslip in Looe, Cornwall.
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