Sinkholes: Buried Alive, Yikes!

DATELINE: NOVA!

NOVA’s distressing documentary of several years ago features some horrific scenes of trees, cars, homes, acres, simply disappearing in a sudden eruption. On occasion, people have been trapped and disappear before rescuers can uncover them.

Buried Alive takes on a hideous reality.

Most of these sinkholes seem to be in porous Florida where the land is pockmarked with water filled caves and tunnels that loosen and plunge. However, you shouldn’t feel safe anywhere in the world

One notorious case was a Florida man who screamed for help as his bedroom caved in—and he was lost forever..

It seems if you have lousy and unstable bedrock and limestone under your feet, you are a potential victim. One retired couple moved to Florida from Massachusetts, and now they are stuck, gambling their home will last longer than the rest of their lives. You cannot sell property when the tell-tale cracks and foundation sinking reveal potential disaster.

It only takes a few seconds for the earth beneath you to plummet dozens of feet. You are more likely to be buried in a sinkhole than an earthquake.

Much sinkhole activity is caused by human inhabitation, development, and apathy. As one expert states, you don’t have land examined for sinkholes, or it becomes worthless, and developers will lose their money. Home construction then leaves the issue to the owners who foot the bill when the inevitable happens in Florida.

Let the buyer beware is a good policy. Many government agencies have sinkhole maps—and will let you know if your neighborhood is prone.

 

 

Curse of Oak Island: One Big Sink Hole

DATELINE: Indefinite Suspension

fashionplateOak Island Fashionplate

Oak Island’s unsafe ground has voids and tunnels that have been compromised by diggers and flooding over at least two centuries. It seems a surprise that no one figured that a sink hole might send the entire treasure hunt and hunters down to a watery grave made by Captain Kidd.

Oak Island is one big hole in the ground, except when it comes to History Channel ratings. Then, it becomes Mt. Everest.

If the latest gaffe is unforeseen and inevitable, we might well agree with Rick Lagina that the hunt for whatever is there may be nearing completion yet again, without success.

Every generation’s technology fails until another era makes people feel that they are the champions to find the answers.

The 14th episode of season six is the “Voyage to the Bottom…” and they have not yet hit rock bottom.

Perhaps the most ridiculous moment was a nighttime visit by Rick, tethered, as he crawls into the sink hole, causing even more caving earth. They yell for him to get out: it’s not easy to move fast when you are beyond a certain age. The Chappel Vault might become Rick Lagina’s mausoleum, as he faced the prospect of becoming the seventh curse victim.

We had suggested last season that Rick throw himself down one of the shafts, and he nearly did it this time.

Other bad news was that what they thought was a piece of bone turned out to be slag (buried 170 feet where no smelting operation ever was done). Other leather parchment turned out to be tree bark. It’s pure Oak Island.

The good news for the week had to do with finding parchment or rag paper with red pigment on it: it seemed to be as early as 1300 in origin.

Also, lidar and sonar searches of the bay water around the island showed some anomalies and an anchor. Another tunnel entrance or drain system could be 100 feet off-shore. Intriguing.

Yet, we were most impressed when Alex Lagina showed up in an $800 Arc’teryx wilderness jacket. He has taste and good looks.

In Search of …Sinkholes

DATELINE: Pedestrian Hazard

Quintoinpit

One of the most mundane of topics for this series so far turns out to be one of the most terrifying, This may be due to the fact that a sinkhole opening up under your feet is far more likely than being abducted by an alien, falling into a time slip, or crossing paths with a sea monster.

Quinto’s series frightens us with the information that 25% of the earth we live on—land—is subject to sinkholes.

In case you don’t know, Florida and Missouri are the sinkhole capitals of America. Land o’Lakes, Florida, and their Chamber of Commerce may be a bit upset at this publicity. Your land may slip out from under you.

The many horrifying stories (one man opened the door to his brother’s bedroom—and he was gone, swallowed up) pile up. Sinkholes happen faster than the time to react. You may be falling and buried before you know what is happening. And forget rescue.

Historical sinkholes were thought to be the Devil’s handiwork, owing to their unpredictability. And, even with science of the 21st century, you may only have a slightly more expectation than being hit with an earthquake.

The sinkhole is smaller and more personal. You fall 300 or 400 feet down and the hole may open up to a football field size. A ton of debris will fall atop you.

Porous limestone is the culprit. One golf course found its waterhole turn into a sinkhole overnight.

The owner began excavating it to see what was below: and after 3 years, it looks like a mini-Grand Canyon. He takes Zachary Quinto down into the abyss and chasm. It is not safe.

A cautious producer pulls them out, but it’s not publicity stunt. A week later a pickup truck driving in the spot went down, almost killing the driver.

Once again, the series is a goldmine of information and suspense. You may not expect a mundane topic to provide you with a nightmare, but sinkholes are not to be searched for, or trifled with.