Buildings swallowed by the Earth: Sinkholes in China

Published on Author harbaugh

There have been an increasing number of sinkholes forming throughout China within recent years. On March 26th, a massive sinkhole opened up in the southern city of Shenzhen, which killed a construction worker and significantly destructed a residential area. Residents had been complaining about tremors around the construction site as well. The Guangdong province has encountered with sinkholes in the past.  In January, a massive manhole opened up at a construction site in Guangzhou, bringing down 6 buildings. Last year in the Guangxi province, a sinkhole formed after a local school dug a well to ease its water shortage. In Beijing more than 100 sinkholes have formed within the past month. The cause of all of the sinkholes in unclear, but it is speculated that the massive bomb-shelters that were constructed during Chinese-Soviet tensions could contribute to the numerous sinkholes in Beijing. Clearly the methods of construction we saw in Country Driving must be re-evaluated in order to promote the safety of residents. Although in the short-term quickly constructing buildings may be beneficial, in the long-term problems such a sinkholes will have very negative impacts. Below is the video of the sinkhole tragedy, which has gone viral.

Sinkhole Video

5 Responses to Buildings swallowed by the Earth: Sinkholes in China

  1. It’s interesting that sink holes are making headlines in China now after a few weeks of getting a lot of attention in the U.S. For anyone who missed it, a man in Florida was killed by a sinkhole about a month ago, and a few more in other states have gotten attention. Purely coincidence, I’m sure, but still scary.

  2. Sinkholes may be caused by poor construction planning but often they are a unavoidable natural disaster. Many regions of the United States also suffer from sinkholes. They are common in areas with limestone because limestone dissolves relatively easily. It is also important to note that while deaths from sinkholes are tragic they are very rare. China can hardly afford to put much time into avoiding sinkholes considering how many other environmental problems they fail to remedy(pollution). The Chinese government would be better off informing its citizens of the warning signs of sinkholes such as “slumping or sagging fence posts or trees are a clear sign. Doors and windows that don’t close properly and small ponds of rainfall forming where water has not collected before are also signs,” than wasting precious resources on trying to remedy an unfixable problem. The press should be more focused on the the health hazards Chinese suffer from things like their unclean drinking water.

  3. Part of I-81 at the north end of the county closed a few years back thanks to a sinkhole. A neighbor lost a cow into one on their property. Worse, some locals are reputed to have used sinkholes as garbage dumps, and not necessarily just for (comparatively) innocuous organic waste but also for chemicals that we really don’t want getting into ground water. (Coliform bacteria are bad enough.) If you’ve never seen Big Spring (between US60 West and the Kerrs Creek entrance/exit to I-64), it’s quite something, a huge artesian spring which of course means a big underground river. Lots of water pressure to hold things up for now, but in a millennium or two? Of course Natural Bridge is what’s left after a huge cavern — acres — collapsed.

  4. it’s incredible how much sinkholes are appearing these last months everywhere on the planet, now it’s in China!