A sinkhole was discovered on Thursday 21 August 2014 at Cowshill in the Weardale District of County Durham, northeast England. At the time the hole was about 5 meters across, but it has been growing ever since, and by Monday 25 August had reached about 35 meters wide, raising fears it may threaten the home of the landowners on whose property it opened up.
The Cowshill sinkhole. The Northern Echo.
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.
On this occasion the sinkhole has been linked to former lead-mining works beneath the hillside, which have apparently begun to collapse following a period of extremely wet weather.
The approximate location of the Cowshill Sinkhole. Google Maps.
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