Slashdot.org can lead us to more information than we may have thought we needed to know about sinkholes - much in the news from having killed one person in Florida.
from the this-planet-will-not-hesitate-to-attack-you dept.
FromThe Christian Science Monitor, I would add:
Changes in drainage due to construction or agricultural irrigation have been known to activate mass outbreaks of sinkholes, where dozens of sinkholes can suddenly appear next to drainage wells and farm fields. Drought followed by heavy rains can also instigate sinkholes as heavy, water-logged earth presses down on limestone caves suddenly devoid of buoyant water. The two previous deaths attributed to sinkholes both involved professional well drillers whose activities cracked the top of limestone caverns, causing collapse. "Humans can [destabilize karst landscapes] by drawing down water tables or irrigate too much, increasing the weight of the mass of materials that sits on top of the void," says Jonathan Martin, a geologist at the University of Florida, in Gainesville.
"It's not yet clear what caused the Seffner sinkhole, however, but geologists say the area, which is part of the heavily populated I-4 corridor that crosses Florida's midriff from Tampa to Daytona, is particularly prone to sinkhole collapses. Humans can modify the environment" enough to cause sinkholes.