Residents in the small town of Coromandel, Brazil, recently awoke to a startling site: a gigantic sinkhole measuring approximately 65 feet wide. The sinkhole appeared in the middle of a local soybean farm and its depth could not be determined by the confused locals.
As Forbes reports, the area is home to about 28,000 people who make their livelihood by cultivating coffee, soybeans and corn. However, the town and surrounding area— located in the state of Minas Gerais — are located on pure calcareous limestone rock. Scientists believe this is the reason a sinkhole appeared out of nowhere.
After studying the sinkhole to determine its cause, geologists from the Federal University of Uberlândia concluded that it most likely occurred as a result of dissolution of the underlying bedrock. Apparently, this kind of phenomenon is often seen in Florida, where limestone bedrock spans most of the state.
How did the sinkhole form?
The development was a completely natural one and can be explained by science. Because rainwater is acidic, when it collects on calcium carbonate, the bedrock dissolves into calcium, carbon dioxide, and water.
The chemical reaction follows:
CaCO3(s) + 2H+(aq) → Ca2+(aq) + CO2(g) + H2O (l)
Because of this, calcium carbonate (limestone) does not withstand the elements like marble does, for example. This is why many sculptors refuse to work with the substance. Nonetheless, when limestone dissolves, it leaves a void underneath the ground which causes the weight of the sediment to cause the area to collapse. The resulting effect is a sinkhole.
Even though the occurrence can be explained by science, it is still overwhelming to witness. According to the press release, the local farmers hadn’t seen a sinkhole formation before. Some believed the cone-shaped hole had been formed by a meteorite impact. Local professionals ruled that theory out right away, however. They stated: “The impact of a meteorite is also ruled out because if there were, the earth would be thrown out and not have been swallowed, as it happened.”
The area is now closed off to prevent people and cattle from falling in and getting injured.
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Images Credit: Press Release / Coromande
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here