A team of Chinese researchers announces the discovery of the largest group of natural sinkholes in the world: 49 “big bumps” and a gigantic sinkhole covering a total area of more than 600 square kilometers in Shaanxi province, northwest of China. China.
Sinkholes are there to remind us that no matter how fast we shape the world, nature will always be able to make the choice to play with us by lifting the ground without notice from under our feet or causing it to collapse. While man-made sinkholes are on the increase, natural sinkholes are much rarer. A team of Chinese researchers nevertheless announces that they have discovered the largest group of natural sinkholes in the world: 49 « big bumps » covering four counties, i.e. a total area of more than 600 square kilometers.
According to reports from government officials in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, this collection of sinkholes was unearthed during a recent field survey around Hanzhong City. The team, led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, reports more than 17 large sinkholes, 31 medium-sized sinkholes, more than 50 funnels 50 to 100 meters in diameter and a gigantic chasm.
Because yes, it happens that sinkholes collapse on themselves. The latter result from a form of erosion of the rock which leads to the formation of a circular or oval depression. The dimensions of the chasm can vary from a few tens of meters to several hundred meters. Such a sinkhole collapse occurs in an area of the ground where there is no surface water drainage: when it rains, all the water stagnates in this area and infiltrates deep down. Most often, sinkholes are created so slowly that the change in the environment is imperceptible. But sometimes sinkholes collapse.
To give you an idea of the size of the gigantic chasm discovered, the Eiffel Tower could fit inside and its diameter of 520 meters is larger than the total height of the Empire State Building. Here are some images taken from these sinkholes which prove to us once again how unpredictable and destructive the Earth can be: