Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sinkholes

What an incredibly beautiful happy graphic for such an horrific and frightening event. (Graphic from: www.swfwmd.state.fl.us  )
       


   All over the world this week people heard about the extremely sad story of Jeffrey Bush.  Mr. Bush, 37, was asleep in his bedroom, in a house he shared with his mother, his brother, the brother's girlfriend and children, and others.  The house which ironically is located on 240 Faithway Drive, was built in the 1970s in Hillsborough County, Florida.   With no warning, a loud sound occurred and the sleeping Mr. Bush and the contents of his entire room collapsed and fell into a newly opened sinkhole.  His brother Jeremy entered the room at once and tried to save his brother, however the collapsing continued.  Jeremy Bush was rescued by a very brave Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy. He was however, unable to rescue his brother Jeffrey.
           In much of Florida, the ground is built upon caverns and caves.  This is such a prevalent feature of the landscape that it has become impossible not to build in regions where this is a possibility.  The best people can do is buy insurance and have their homes inspected periodically for signs of cracks and issues which indicate sink hole activity.  In the case of the Bush Family, they had no prior cracks in their home and they had lived in this location from the time the house was built in the 1970s.  This was truly an unexpected occurrence. It is possible that their entire neighborhood will need to be condemned, when it was apparently stable from the nineteen-seventies forward.

This is a sinkhole in Ocala, Florida.



          Despite rapid work by the police and county hired engineers, using flexible sound and visual high tech next generation fiber-optics , no one has been able to locate Jeffrey Bush alive. They have detected no sounds within the huge chasm which has opened below the house and likely below the neighborhood as well.  They also have stated that they will be unable to recover a body.  A fairly recent inspection for potential sink hole activity,  as is a requirement for homeowner's insurance was recently done on the Bush home. However, this time, no signs of impending collapse were seen by the inspector.
         Sinkholes are not rare events in Florida, however the loss of a person in a house with no notice, is a rare event.  Although we all know Florida for sinkhole potential, many other places around the world have such potential.  The Yucatan Peninsula and Belize have this as a possibility.  The Bahamas, New Zealand, China, Mexico, New Guinea, Venezuela.  Within the US states, Louisiana, Kentucky,  Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, and Missouri have all experienced sinkholes. It is possible in states not mentioned.  Even though Virginia does not appear in any of the references I have been reading, I am aware that following seismic or vibratory events, sinkholes have appeared, particularly on roadways and parking lots.
        Sinkholes can be completely spontaneously occurring as limestone or other stones erode underground due to normal amounts of water, or they can occur the result of the intervention of human beings as we bury lines, and perhaps water seepage permits erosion of which we are unaware.

        You should be alert to cracks in your drywall, your foundation, or aberrations in your well as potential indicators of abnormal subterranean erosion patterns.  Usually such indicators are seen prior to a collapse event.

       Unknown to us, our last farm was in an area of goldmines from the 1880s.  We were out for a distant nature walk from the house one day and discovered the ground near us collapsing.  It was only held up by large oaks and their root systems.  We notified the US Department of Mines, and they excavated and capped off the old goldmines, at no charge to us.  This was a very frightening time.

       Our family's prayers go out to the Bush Family.  May they feel the hand of God, the support of kind neighbors, and a compassionate and helpful local government as they try to move forward from this terrible tragic event.


More information:

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthgwsinkholes.html

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/sinkholes/10637/what_causes_a_sinkhole_/554362



14 comments:

lotta joy said...

When I figured out that Florida is nothing but a long sandbar, I then figured up how much longer I might live....when you're stuck down here, that's the only ray of sunshine: I might die before "it" happens. Insert lots of possibilities for the word "it".

"It" happens down here on a daily basis.

Gorges Smythe said...

Despite having some limestone areas, the only sinkholes that I've heard of in most of West Virginia were atop old mine shafts.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, in Virginia, to have a sink hole you need either an area in which underground water has eroded an area underground, or you need an area that was a former mine. Of course, adding a mild earthquake or two helps to unearth them in places they were not necessarily suspected. There are hazards everywhere, but my concern is making sure we would recognize them if indications emerged.

JaneofVirginia said...

Lots of people live a long time, even in Florida. My dear grandmother began to prepare for her impending demise in California when she was in her late forties. She sold her California home away from the earthquakes and moved to Florida. Despite the bugs, the college students on Spring break, the alligators and everything else she deemed undesirable, she lived until half way through her 96th year. She had even become engaged in those last couple of years, although neither of them intended to marry one another, as it would have disrupted their social security. Sometimes the good weather boosts life expectancy more than we thought it would.

Linda said...

That collapse of ONLY the bedroom seemed sort of like a plot for a supernatural movie. There is a place hear a tree that keeps collapsing under my feet. I wonder if the tree roots are keeping the ground under my feet frp, totally collapsing and swallowing me up. I don't walk there anymore.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

My grandfather had to pull one of his cows out of a sink hole on the farm in Rockbridge county VA, lots of sink holes there but you never hear much trouble.

Sandy said...

Jane,

I lived in South Florida for 20+ years. Down in the southern part of Florida, most of the land wasn't land, it was swamp. Builders eventually filled in the swamp area with rock and dirt in order to build.

JaneofVirginia said...

The humidity, the alligators and the possibility of sinkholes makes Florida not an option for retirement for me ! LOL

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, in doing the research for this post, no one mentioned sink holes in Virginia, but I KNOW they happened on larger farms in the next county, and I know that Albemarle County lost a stretch of Route 29 to a sink hole just a year or so ago. It's one of those secrets designed to keep property values up...just like everyone pretending earthquakes don't exist here.

JaneofVirginia said...

Linda, I thought exactly the same thing. I was thinking it was either the start of a very scary movie, or the start of one about all the creative ways in which God chose to rapture good human beings, one by one, before an event which is worse. I know, too much imagination coupled with spicy foods before bedtime.

Linda said...

The Rapture? I did not think about that. I have put out the word amongst my friends that I am looking for a new car and a sound house, both paid for, when The Rapture occurs and they won't need them any longer.

My imagination ran wild with the story of one room, one man who disappeared. And, there is and has been no evidence of any cracks or anything untoward happening to warn them.

JaneofVirginia said...

I was kidding. Did you know that "The Rapture" is an American construct or interpretation of the Bible ? In Europe, Russia and other places, even the religious have never heard of it. Seriously, I gave some thought to the concept of individual rapture when my youngest son died at 12 1/2, after having a clean physical, from an ailment which did not show up on multiple autopsies. Sometimes, human beings are called without warning. We don't like to think about this, but we plan only as best we can.

Steve Tompkins said...

Maybe he was worshipping the devil and Lucifer come to collect him personally. People this day go into Wicca religion and Satan bible reading which no one has the real manuscripts. Just novelty bullcrap

JaneofVirginia said...

I don't believe these people were Satanic worshipers. The husband and wife built the home in the 1970s and raised their sons there. One of the sons was raising his family there now.