Monday, 23 February 2015

380 people evacuated from homes after massive sinkhole opens on Naples Street.

Approximately 380 people from 95 families had to be evacuated from their homes after a massive sinkhole opened up in a residential district of Naples on Sunday 22 February 2015. Nobody was injured by the incident, in which a 10 m section of road collapsed abruptly at about 5.00 am local time, and there is not thought to have been any damage to any buildings, but apartment blocks surrounding the affected area were evacuated as a precaution.

Sinkhole on a Naples street on 22 February 2015. The Independent.

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. Potash, a potassium salt, is readily soluble and can be dissolved quickly if water gains access to deposits, leading to the rapid formation of sinkholes.

On this occasion the sinkhole is thought to have been caused by a burst water main which washed away soil beneath the road, and caused the roof of a disused subway tunnel beneath the road to collapse, causing a sudden failure of the road surface at about 5.00 am, when traffic began to use the street.

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