An enormous sinkhole appeared underneath a campsite on Sunshine Coast, Queensland, in Australia last weekend, taking into its insides several tents, a car and a caravan. Fortunately, noone was injured, but the 300 people who were there had to be evacuated.
The sinkhole at Inskip Point on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Photo credits: Channel 7.
The ground collapsed into a 3-metre hole, thereby dragging 200 metres of beachfront and 50 metres of the campsite, on Saturday. The tragedy occurred at Inskip Point near Rainbow Beach.
A camper who was at the campsite when it happened said he heard a “thunderclap” when the hole opened up, and that soon after, it was pulling in land.
The sinkhole swallowing a caravan. Photo credits: Glenn Barnes/ via TheAustralian.com.
The campground in that area had witnessed a similar fate back in 2011 when another sinkhole emerged. Consequently, geoscientists are now analysing the region to determine how stable it is. Experts have already attempted to explain the cause of the event.
“This area has a history where sinkholes occur regularly, it is something to do with the way sediments are formed and the way water moves through the Earth over millions of years or thousands of years,” said geotechnical engineer Allison Golsby from consulting company ConsultMine. “An earthquake can trigger a sinkhole from a cavity but it has to basically happen on the day or in a very close time frame to the earthquake. In this case I don’t see the link.”
The area is currently being monitored. Golsby said that it was speculated that the whole peninsula might disappear since it is often ravaged by sinkholes.
“People have said that at some stage they think Inskip Point may not be there,” said Golsby. “Now that could be thousands of years, it could be hundreds of years.”
“There are many reasons that this could occur, but there appears to be elements of a slip or slump failure here, rather than just a sinkhole-type behaviour,” explained Golsby. “Slips and slumps are usually formed through very loose material that is either saturated or semi-saturated with water, water movement, getting to a point where they become unstable and they fall away because they can’t be supported by whatever is underneath them or at their base.”
The world has been seeing more and more sinkholes. Could the end of times be approaching further? More than a year ago, one appeared in Siberia. Thereafter, some months later, one emerged in Russia. Scientists are now, more than ever, studying the occurrence of sinkholes, why they happen and what are their implications.