Friday, 27 March 2015

Homes evacuated after sinkhole opens up in Swanley, southeast England.

Two homes have been evacuated in the town of Swanley in Kent, southeast England after a sinkhole opened up on Thursday 26 March 2015 swallowing two sheds behind the properties. The hole is described as being roughly two meters by three and several meters deep. There is not thought to be any immediate danger to human life, but Sevenoaks District Council has ordered the evacuation of the houses as a precaution. It is understood that the residents of one of the preperties have accepted alternative accommodation from the council, while the residents of the other have made their own arrangements.

Sinkhole that opened up in Swanley, Kent, on 26 March 2015, swallowing two sheds. BBC.

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 26 March 2015 Swanley Sinkhole. Google Maps.

On this occasion investigations by Thames Water have revealed a broken sewer beneath the sinkhole, though it is unclear if the sewer breaking was the cause of the event or if it was broken by some earth movement associated with the formation of the hole, as it appears to have been in good order prior to the event (people tend to notice and report broken sewers quickly). Thames Water and Sevenoaks District Council are reportedly working together to find a solution to the problem.

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