An enormous sinkhole has opened up in the town of Leesburg, Fla.,, and it’s hungry. It’s already gobbled up a garbage bin, an oak tree, the back wall of the building housing a salon and racks of supplies. You can watch a video charting its path of destruction above.
The chasm that caused Main Street Hair and Beauty Supply to collapse is about 60 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Although the street surrounding the building has also fallen prey to the pit, officials say thehole isn’t growing. But the slowly sinking building is sparking growing concern for neighbors who live nearby. The sinkhole started after a torrential downpour at the end of June.
The heavy rains lead to plenty of pits opening in central Florida.
Since the 1950s, 3,100 sinkholes have been recorded in Florida. The naturally occurring holes open up when acidic groundwater dissolves underground rock formations. At the point, the formations are no longer able to support the ground above them, causing terra firma to collapse inward.
A neighbor across the street said he heard the sinkhole before he saw it. He told the Orlando Sentinel, “It woke me up. I heard a crack, a boom. I thought it was a wreck, like someone hit a transformer or something.”
The pits have certainly opened up interest on the Web. A Guatemala City hole found under a grandmother’s bed this week caused lots of speculation. In fact, some sharp-eyed commenters on Yahoo! suspect the hole to be caused by an abandoned well.
Lookups on Yahoo! for “guatemala sinkhole,” “giant sinkhole under bed,” and even “what causes sinkholes” continued to grow.
In this photo released by Guatemala‘s Presidency on Monday May 31, 2010, a sinkhole covers a street intersection in downtown Guatemala City. A day earlier authorities blamed the heavy rains caused by tropical storm Agatha as the cause of the crater that swallowed a a three-story building. (Luis Echeverria, Guatemala’s Presidency/AP)
When Inocenta Hernandez awoke to the sound of a massive explosion, she immediately ran outside — but soon discovered, much to her horror, that the freakish sound had originated inside her home.
As the AFP is reporting, the 65-year-old Guatemala City resident returned to find a three-foot-wide, 40-foot-deep sinkhole beneath her bed. The hole may be tiny compared to a larger, 330-foot-deep sinkhole that formed nearby in 2007 and left three people dead, but Hernandez says she was nonetheless shaken by the experience, according to the AFP:
“When we heard the loud boom we thought a gas canister from a neighboring home had exploded, or there had been a crash on the street,” Hernandez said. “We rushed out to look and saw nothing. A gentleman told me that the noise came from my house, and we searched until we found it under my bed. Thank God there are only material damages, because my grandchildren were running around the house, into that room and out to the patio”
Guatemala City is built on volcanic deposits and especially prone to sinkholes, which are often blamed on leaky sewers or on heavy rain, The Guardian is reporting. Last year, a 60-foot-wide sinkhole swallowed a three-story building and nearby house.