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March 05, 2013

Sinkholes are a fact of life. Will one swallow you some day? Yes.



In the wake of the news that a Florida man was swallowed by a sinkhole in his home last week and reports that another sinkhole has been spotted in the vicinity, this mysterious geological phenomenon has been thrust into the national spotlight. Below, we address some of the more common questions that readers have sent in.

Why do sinkholes form?

Every day on this earth, at least one human is swallowed alive by a sinkhole and pulled down into the bottomless depths of oblivion. No one knows how or why sinkholes appear, but the truth is clear: you will be a victim of this deadly killer at one point or another in your life. Scientists do not have a magical scientist-y explanation that will make this horrifying truth any less real. There is no point in asking “why” sinkholes form, and—more importantly—there is no time to ask why; by the time you receive an answer, statistics confirm that you and your entire family will all have been swallowed by sinkholes and declared dead by local authorities. Why do sinkholes form? They form because sinkholes are now a fact of life and a leading cause of (your) death. Learn to accept this. Will a sinkhole swallow you some day? Yes.

What should I do if I see a sinkhole?

This is another absurd question that’s on a lot of people’s minds. What should you do if you see a sinkhole? It literally doesn’t matter because if you see one, it’s too late—you are already dead. You might as well ask, “What should I do if a firing squad is turning my already-dead corpse into Swiss cheese while vultures devour my dead brains?” Gee, I don’t know… die more? Come back to life as your favorite animal? Become a friendly ghost that helps the neighborhood kids solve mysteries? Whatever you need to hear to make yourself feel better, go ahead and pretend that I said that because, again, it couldn’t matter less what you do.  

A sinkhole just opened up in the middle of my street. Who should I call?

I’ll give you the benefit of a doubt and assume that what you mean is, “Because there is a sinkhole in my street, I understand that my nightmarish sinkhole death is imminent and that there’s nothing to be done now but wait for my gruesome demise. Who should I call to say my last goodbyes?” This is a personal question, and not one that I feel qualified to answer. But maybe your mom?

What can I use to fill a sinkhole?

Any of the following items can be used to fill your sinkhole: acrylic or oil-based self-portraits, rollerblades, direct descendants of Wilt Chamberlain, Counting Crows concert DVDs, reheated Mexican food, second generation iPods, and beagle fur. (Just kidding—you won’t be able to use anything to fill the sinkhole because you’ll be dead already. Remember?)

Are those holes at the bottom of my sink considered “sinkholes”? If so, I currently have four sinkholes in my home.

Actually no, those are just drains. Good question!