Yet another odd news trend is the sinkhole phenomenon. Also known worldwide as sótano, doline, tiankeng and sometimes cenotes, or giant potholes - they seem to be both more common, but more dangerous.
While road potholes are nothing new, a road sink hole is a whole other story - not only wider, but dangerously deeper too. I first became aware of the difference when in 2009, a large hole, 5 metres across and 14 metres deep, suddenly appeared in a major road (Finch Avenue) in Toronto.
Amazingly, no one was hurt, but the sinkhole repair process took months, and was a blow to an already strained municipal budget. Since then, excess water due to broken water mains or heavy rainfall have caused several more holes in major roads: twice in 2011 (Woodbine Ave in Sept, and Bayview Ave in November) and in July 2012, a huge gash appeared in a Scarborough Park.
A bit of research though made me realize that these startling events were small potatoes compared to what has been going on elsewhere in the world.
Just take a look at the current sink hole news to the right and you'll soon realize that this has become a much more common event, worldwide.
For the most part, sinkholes are caused by natural causes, although human activity can also help things along too. And some of the holes are a direct result of human activity, such as having a hole appear in the ground above an abandoned tunnel or mine.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number and severity of sinkholes around the world in the last few years.
China has had many large and fatal sinkholes appear. They have appeared often in rural areas, but those that have appeared in urban areas have often been fatal.
Some of the largest and most dramatic sinkholes have appeared in Guatemala since 2010. They have been enormous and caused huge damage.
Dead Sea area
Sinkholes have appeared all around the Dead Sea. Of note is a sinkhole that swallowed a geologist who was there surveying the area.
In the USA, there have also been a number of new sinkhole areas, but the two biggest hotspots have been especially dangerous.
Florida has had sinkholes appear overnight in suburban backyards, parking lots and near or even under homes - in both urban and rural areas.
The biggest single sinkhole problem in the USA is a sinkhole that has developed in a swampy area of Louisiana.
In the News Today
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