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Long Island: What Causes Sinkholes? What Are They? Can They Be Prevented?

Reading this will teach you something about sinkholes.

A huge story right now in the country is of the sinkhole phenomena happening in Florida.

So I thought I’d check what exactly is a sinkhole and I went to National Geographic’s website and found:

“A sinkhole is basically any collapsed or bowl-shaped feature that's formed when a void under the ground creates a depression into which everything around it drains. (Gallery: Sinkholes from around the world.) ... There are two basic kinds. One is called a cover-subsidence sinkhole. You find these in places like the Shenandoah Valley, or in sandier soils where you've got a void underground. As the soil above transports itself into that cave in the rock, the ground slowly subsides. So it's not catastrophic. It subsides over time. It could be over years; it could be over hundreds of thousands of years. The other kind is what we call a cover-collapse sinkhole. This is the one that makes the news. It tends to occur in clay, because clay holds soil together like glue. As with cover subsidence, soil is leaching into a cave below, but it creates a void in the soil that moves upward. You can't see it on the surface. Then, all of a sudden, the bridge over top of that void can't hold anymore and it collapses — just like we saw in Florida last week."

Now that we know what we are talking about, do they occur on Long Island and if so why, when and where?

Yes, they do occur on Long Island. In fact, just last Jan 13, 2013, a car was swallowed whole by a sinkhole in Smithtown. And on Oct 30, 2012, after Hurricane Sandy, a sinkhole occurred in Woodmere. Also in Oceanside, on Oct 30, 2011, an 80 year-old man fell into a sinkhole on his front lawn as he went to get his morning paper. (Luckily, unlike the recent Florida man who perished after falling into a sinkhole, Michael Ciron, was rescued by his local fire department.)

So yes, sinkholes do happen on Long Island.

Trivia: Deepest Sinkhole that someone has descended into safely, is in the Bahama’s, 302 feet.

The website: http://www.inspectapedia.com/vision/sinkholes.htm is a great site to check should you believe you may have a sinkhole forming, or to prevent one from expanding.

On Long Island, faulty cesspools, broken underwater pipes, or overdevelopment of a specific area seems to be a leading causes of sinkholes; however, some are long term erosions over scores of years that have nothing to do with man made situations.

I suppose if you believe there may be a sinkhole forming around your property please be pro-active; do not wake up falling out of bed, never to be seen again because you failed to act.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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