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Texas Sinkhole Gets Bigger, not Necessarily Better

May 09, 2008 11:08 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Anne Szustek
A huge and growing sinkhole gobbled farm and construction equipment in rural Texas on Wednesday and Thursday.

30-Second Summary

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What started Wednesday morning as a crack near Daisetta, Texas, northeast of Houston, has slowly expanded into a sinkhole 700 feet across and 250 feet deep.

Throughout the day, the sinkhole expanded at a rate of 20 feet per hour, triggering fears that it would consume nearby regional Farm-to-Market Highway 770. Tractors, trees and everything else in its trajectory were consumed by the hole. Repair crews drained nearby tanks as a precaution.

“It could double in size,” warned Geologist Carl Norman. And indeed, reports from Houston NBC affiliate KPRC said that as of 4:40 pm CDT Thursday the sinkhole was still growing, although not as rapidly.

CNN seemed at a loss for words to describe the crevasse, settling on “ginormous.”

Daisetta Mayor Lynn Wells put a positive spin on the growing hole, saying, “It's going to make a nice lake. I don't live too far from here, so maybe it'll make nice lakeside property."

As the sinkhole started to lose steam, many observers were left wondering what exactly the hole was, and how and why it formed.

The U.S. Geological Survey says that sinkholes are caused by dissolving bedrock. “If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur.” Texas is one of the states most prone to sinkholes. The Daisetta sinkhole is thought to have been caused by an underground salt dome that gave way after oil was drained from nearby wells.

Headline Link: ‘Massive Sinkhole’s Growth Slows’

Video: Hole keeps growing

Background: Sinkholes

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