Monday 9 November 2015

Giant sinhole swallows at least fourteen cars in Meridian, Mississippi.

At least fourteen cars are believed to have been swallowed by a giant sinkhole that opened up in a car park in the city of Meridian in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, at about 7.15 pm on Saturday 7 November 2015. The whole is described as being about 10 m wide and about 115 m in length and is thought to be about 9 m deep, though the bottom is covered by soft mud, making the both the exact depth and the number of vehicles consumed by the hole hard to calculate. The incident happened at a branch of the International House of Pancakes, and it is understood that all the vehicles belonged to people who were inside the restaurant at the time of the incident, and that nobody was injured by the event.

The seen of the 7 November 2015 Meridian, Mississippi sinkhole. Michael Stewart/AP.

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.

Aerial photograph of the Meridian sinkhole. Lieutenant Somebody/Twitter. 

On this occasion Greg Easson of the Geology and Geological Engineering Department at the University of Mississippi believes the hole was caused by the collapse of an old culvert (storm drain) running below the car park, which had become overloaded due to construction work in the area. The area received about 10 cm of rain over the weekend and about 25 cm over the previous week, which could potentially have overloaded the culvert and then washed away unconsolidated sediment surrounding it, eventually causing the whole structure to collapse, though size of the collapse in this case was exceptional. 

See also... evacuated after sinkhole appears in Seffner, Florida.                                           Two homes in the town of Seffner in Hillsborough County, Florida, have been evacuated after a sinkhole appeared between them on Friday 30 October 2015. The hole measures 6.7 m across and is estimated to be 8 m deep. Nobody was injured in the incident, and... sinkholes appear at Missouri golf course.                                                            A pair of giant sinkholes have appeared at the Top of the Rock Golf Course in Taney County, Missouri, on Friday 22 May 2014. The larger of the two sinkholes measures 25 m across by 10 m deep, while the smaller is... woman dies after falling into sinkhole in Louisville, Kentucky.                                   An elderly woman has died after falling into a sinkhole in the Pleasure Ridge Park district of Louisville, Kentucky at about 7.30 pm local time on Tuesday 17 March...
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