Cape Girardeau, Missouri. June 13th, 2013.

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Sinkholes have been in the news a lot over the past few months.

There was the man who died in Florida after his home was swallowed by a sinkhole.

A golfer in St. Louis fell into one on the course. In the Heartland, Cairo, Illinois has been dealing with sinkholes, and now so is Cape Girardeau.

Part of South Sprigg is still closed at La Cruz Street, and it probably will be for quite a while.

Two very large sinkholes are swallowing up part of South Sprigg.

Moreover, these sinkholes are big. One is about 15 feet deep and the other is about eight feet deep.

One of the sinkholes just collapsed last week, and crews are working to stop a whirlpool just under a nearby bridge.

The manager of the quarry here says the water started flowing into the quarry recently and thinks the problems could be connected.

Sinkholes are a problem we see a lot more frequently when there is flooding in the region, so the high levels on the Mississippi River aren’t helping the problem at all.

The South Sprigg Road closure could become permanent if the city can’t find a good fix.

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Runnells, Iowa. June 13th, 2013.

BARNELL_SINKHOLE-Picture 5 BARNELL_SINKHOLE-Picture 2 BARNELL_SINKHOLE-Picture 3 BARNELL_SINKHOLE-Picture 6 BARNELL_SINKHOLE-Picture 7Runnells residents and state officials are concerned a large sinkhole could be related to an abandoned mine beneath the small city.

Two weeks ago, Bob Borg stepped into his front yard to discover a large hole, nearly 10-feet deep and approximately 10-feet wide, just a few steps away from his home. The earth eroded around a tall power pole, which was removed to eliminate the risk of it falling on the home at 105 West McKinney Street.

But there could be a bigger threat to the homes and city road nearby where the ground caved in, according to state officials.

Friday morning environmental engineers plan to dig into the sinkhole with an excavator, looking for an explanation of what caused it.
“There are several mines in the area,” said Mike Bourland, an environmental engineer with Iowa Department of Agriculture’s Mines and Minerals Bureau. “We don’t know the extent of the mines. We just know that they were located in Runnells.”
More than 200 closed-off underground mining locations have been located in Polk County alone, according to Iowa’s Mines and Minerals Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt. These locations involve veins of underground tunnels, which the state of Iowa required companies to document and map out for state records as of 1902.
But places like Runnells, where mining began in the 1880s, are problematic because there is no detailed map of the underground tunnels, Coffelt said.

The eastern Polk County community of about 500 people used to be a final coal stop for steam-paddled boats headed up the Des Moines River. This created a market for “mom and pop mines” within the community, Coffelt said.
“There’s no surveyed mine map known for that except for the general locations,” he said, noting the unpredictable risk of sinkholes. “There’s no way to predict when a subsidence event would take place.”
The phenomenon is nothing new for those living in the area, according to residents.
Runnells Mayor Ron Tate said in the last 20 years multiple sinkholes have appeared in a field on the east side of town, where two entrances to mines were located.
In the ’80s, a sinkhole nearly 25 feet in diameter caved in a portion of two residential roads, also on the east side of town, at the intersection of Person and Maple Street, Tate said. No homes were impacted in the incident.
“I knew there were mines in town, but I never really thought about it much until that one happened,” said Tate, adding that sinkholes still are not a major concern. “Not unless it starts happening quite often, then I’ll start worrying about it.”
State officials said Friday’s excavation should reveal whether the recent incident on the western part of downtown was the result of an abandoned mine, or some other feature like an old well or septic system. The cavity, which is currently fenced off, is located on the same block as City Hall and a U.S. Post Office building.
It the excavation reveals a mine shaft – identified by railroad timbers or other support structures beneath the soil – crews will fill the space with crushed limestone to minimize the risk of future sinkholes, said Bourland, who will oversee the investigation Friday.
“Anytime there is an abandoned underground mine there’s always some level of risk,” Bourland said.

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Arlington, Texas. June 11th, 2013

A strange one. A sinkhole formed behind the pitchers mound on a baseball field…

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A busted pipe under the infield at Rangers Ballpark has created a sinkhole right behind the pitcher’s mound.

On-field batting practice was canceled for both the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians while workers tried to fix the problem 2 1/2  hours before Tuesday night’s scheduled game.

Rangers officials expect the problem to be fixed in time to play the game.

Texas players went out to the field for batting practice before going back inside to take their swings in an indoor cage.

Two weeks ago, a game between Arizona and Texas at Rangers Ballpark was postponed because of unplayable field conditions. The infield was soaked during a short thunderstorm about an hour before that scheduled start while the grounds crew struggled to get the tarp on the field.

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Winter Park, Florida. June 4th, 2013.

A strange repeat of history. Winter park is no stranger to sinkholes….

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A sinkhole formed in Winter Park, Fla., on Monday, swallowing half a swimming pool and forcing the evacuation of several residents, authorities there say.

The sinkhole—about 50 feet wide and 30 to 40 feet deep—was reported by a homeowner, Suzanne Blumenauer, at about 8:30 p.m., according to the Orange County Fire Rescue Department.

“They came back from dinner and half the backyard was gone,” Orange County Fire Chief Billy Richardson told the Orlando Sun-Sentinel.

Blumenauer told Richardson that she had a pool party on Sunday “and everything was fine.”

It’s unclear what caused this particular sinkhole. An Orange County geologist was expected to examine the formation early Tuesday, Richardson said.

Sinkholes are common in central Florida, particularly in Winter Park, where, in 1981, a massive sinkhole 350 feet wide and 75 feet deep swallowed a three-bedroom house, “part of the city’s swimming pool and at least five Porsches from a German car business,” Red Huber, a Sentinel photographer, recalled on the 30th anniversary of the famous crater. “Several of the cars later were rescued with a crane, but two are still down there somewhere.”

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Ontario, Canada. May 31st, 2013.

kenora sinkhole -  may 31 2013Dryden residents are seeing some traffic disruptions this morning, following a sinkhole forming underneath the underpass. Blake Poole is the manager of public works, and he says they’re working to repair the issue, while addressing some other repairs.

“Under the underpass currently, we’ve had a minor sinkhole open up. We have some guys repairing it and during their repairs, they’re also going to do some minor repairs to the underpass,” he said.

He anticipates the traffic will be able to travel under the underpass Friday afternoon. The incident was a result of deteriorating pipes beneath the road, and Poole notes this isn’t the first time they’ve seen a sinkhole in that area.

“They’re actually minor holes in the pipe. With the height of the river, and the amount of water flowing through our storm sewer system, it tends to erode some of the fine materials underneath the roadway away, opening up a small sinkhole. That spot has opened up a few times over the years,” he said.

Poole notes they have handed in an application to receive government funding for the repairs to the eroded pipes, but says they can’t do repairs until they receive the funding. He says they’re hoping to be able to solve the problem this summer. – See more at:

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West Point, Utah. May 29th, 2013.

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A driver got an unpleasant surprise in West Point Wednesday when a “cavernous” sinkhole opened up as the driver’s pickup drove over it.

Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Poulsen said the 5-feet-wide sinkhole was 8 feet deep, and the only thing holding up the remaining asphalt was a pipe. Fortunately, the truck that encountered it while trying to turn right near the intersection of 2000 West and 300 North suffered no damage.

“That was really something,” said Geraldine Farrell, who witnessed the aftermath of the sinkhole. “You just don’t think about it and you go too fast — it would be a real disaster if the earth opened up and you dropped your car into it.”

Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Vic Saunders said an underground irrigation pipe was the culprit behind the sinkhole.

“Apparently a leak developed in that pipeline,” Saunders said. “There was washing caused around the pipeline itself — washed the dirt away, and then that created a void.”

Saunders said UDOT does regular pipeline and culvert inspections, but sometimes problems don’t become evident until they come to the surface.

“We don’t want them to happen,” Saunders said.

Freshly-filled dirt covered the area Thursday, and Saunders said the sinkhole was expected to be completely repaired on Friday.

The Wasatch Front has already seen its share of sinkholes in 2013. A sinkhole at 5400 South and 3200 west happened April 26 after a water line broke.

“Generally sinkholes that are along roads are associated with an underground utility like a broken water main,” said Utah Department of Natural Resources senior geologist Rich Giraud.

Do those recent events mean much of Utah is built on unstable ground? Scientists say no.

“It’s much different than a bedrock situation where we have sinkholes that are evolved from the dissolution of the rock itself,” Giraud said.

Those are the sinkholes, Giraud said, that swallow entire cars and houses, and seem to happen most frequently in Florida.

“Probably a good way to think of it is Swiss cheese,” Giraud explained. “It’s really Swiss cheese, and every now and then one of these caverns migrates to the surface and you get a sinkhole.”

Scientists say there are areas of Utah that have that kind of land, like southwestern Utah. Even the Timpanogos Cave in Utah County is an example of dissolution. Still, Giraud said most unstable areas are away from the population center.

“A lot of cases are mountainous areas and there aren’t necessarily people there,” Giraud said.

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Palmer Township, Pennsylvania. May 23rd, 2013.

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Would you believe a third time?

Two weeks after Northwood Avenue in Palmer Township was shut by a sinkhole, another one opened up Thursday, this time swallowing part of a Lowe’s truck, authorities said.

Palmer Township Police Chief Larry Palmer confirmed Thursday afternoon that another sinkhole has shut the road.

Sinkholes that shut Northwood Avenue, the key road connecting Forks Township to Palmer and Lower Nazareth townships, happened in early April and returned in early May.

The road was closed on a Thursday in early April due to a water main break that caused two sinkholes. Crews from Easton Suburban Water Authorityworked around the clock to fix and fill the sinkholes and get the road reopened three days later.

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