More sinkholes open up in Britain
Several cars that collapsed into a sinkhole in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in February 2014. Photo / National Corvette Museum/AP
A spate of sinkholes have opened up across the country as floodwater dissolves the underlying rock, while a “second wave” is likely to appear in the coming weeks as the rain stops and the ground begins to dry, the British Geological Survey warned yesterday.
The number of sinkholes reported has soared to six so far this month – many times more than the one to two that is typical across the whole of a normal year, experts said.
These have generally occurred as soluble rocks such as chalk, limestone and gypsum have been eroded by a sudden infusion of water from the heavy rainstorms which has made existing underground cavities bigger and causing the ground above it to collapse.
A house collapsed in Ripon this week when a sinkhole appeared following the erosion of the underlying gypsum.
This followed a particularly large 20ft deep sinkhole in a Hemel Hempstead garden on Saturday which forced the evacuation of about 20 homes.
“There has been a significant increase in sinkholes over the past few weeks and it’s reasonable to suggest that this is related to the increase in rainfall,” said Dr Vanessa Bank, of the British Geological Survey.
“How long this goes on for very much depends on the weather. But there is likely to be more rainfall and my personal opinion is that we are talking about weeks,” she added.