Saturday, 5 July 2014

Chicago apartment block evacuated after sinkhole opens up.

An apartment block in the West Town area of Chicago, Illinois, has been evacuated after a sinkhole opened up next to it in the early hours of the morning on Friday 4 July 2014. The hole measures about six meters by six meters and is about three meters deep. It opened up beneath a concrete patio area between the apartment block and an adjacent coach house. All eight apartments in the block were evacuated as a precaution, as was a Sushi Restaurant on the ground floor.

Debris in the West Town sinkhole. NBC Chicago.

Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace.

The approximate location of the West Town sinkhole. Google Maps.

On this occasion the hole appears to have been caused by the collapse of the concrete surface into a passageway connecting the apartment block to the coach house, which had been sealed off and covered over by a previous owner, but not actually filled in. The collapse came after a period of heavy rainfall, and it it likely that this had led to a weakening of the structure supporting the concrete.

See also...


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