Friday, March 1, 2013

A tragic teachable moment about sinkholes

Every semester, I talk about sinkholes and the hazards they pose as part of my lecture on groundwater in geology.  That lecture is coming up in a couple of weeks, but I already have a pair of videos to show the students on the topic.  First, CNN has a segment they somewhat misleadingly call The science of sinkholes.

Mari Ramos explains how a man in Florida was apparently swallowed up by the earth as he slept.
There's not much about science except near the end, although what little was described was accurate, as far as it went.  On the other hand, it did a good job of conveying the shock and horror of the incident.

The Associated Press presented the official version in Official: Recovery Underway After Floor Opened Up.  Pay close attention to the final official intereviewed and his description of the size of the sinkhole and the radius of the affected area.  The hole itself is entirely inside the house, but the affected area extends under surrounding homes.

Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers describes how a Florida man disappeared into a sinkhole under his home overnight. He says the house is undermined and neighbors have been evacuated.
I'll be following these up with the video in Chasing Ice.  The students should be suitably impressed with the power of nature.

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