Friday 21 March 2014

Homes evacuated after sinkhole opens up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Seven homes were evacuated as a precaution after a sinkhole opened up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on Thursday 20 March 2014, and several more were left without water. No injuries have been reported,  and it is likely that once repairs have been completed it will be possible for evacuated residents to re-occupy their homes without further problems.

The 20 March 2014 Harrisburg sinkhole. abc27.

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.

In this instance the sinkhole has been linked to a broken water main, which allowed water to escape, washing away soil around the pipe, and beneath the lawn of one of the properties. The neighbourhood has suffered a number of sinkhole events in the last decade, that have been linked to an aging water infrastructure.

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