Please Explain: Sink Holes

Friday, June 28, 2013

After a Florida man disappeared into a sinkhole that swallowed his bedroom, many people began wondering how stable the ground beneath our feet really is. On this week's Please Explain, Randall Orndorff, Director of the USGS Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center, explains what sinkholes are, why they form, where and when they are most likely to occur and how best to prevent them or predict and prepare for them.


Randall Orndorff

Comments [4]

jf from ny

Sinkholes are from overuse of water, over pollution of potable water, draining the water table, hydraulic fracking, and oil procurement.

Jun. 28 2013 04:55 PM
Joe Ingber from NYC

As a very junior associate at a major NY law firm, I traveled to West Virginia with a partner to conduct a deposition of the mayor of a small town that was suing our client (a power company) for causing their town to sink into the earth due to subsidence. The partner asked the mayor, "When did you first become aware of the problem?" The mayor replied, "When we woke up one morning and the post office had disappeared!"

Moral: never ask a question you don't know the answer to

Jun. 28 2013 02:03 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Does "karst" apply to gypsum & salt too, or does it mean only a limestone area? (, which donates rice for correct answers in the vocabulary section of its site, defines it as "limestone area.")

Jun. 28 2013 01:50 PM
elayne dix from elmhurst Queens area

I recently heard about a sink hole which is developing in Grand Ave or in Elmhurst. There is a taffic barrier in front of it which folks are moving around as the hole grows

Jun. 28 2013 01:32 PM

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