Giant sinkhole swallows Japanese street

2016-11-08 16:26
A massive sinkhole is created in the middle of the business district in Fukuoka, southern Japan. (Kyodo News, AP)

A massive sinkhole is created in the middle of the business district in Fukuoka, southern Japan. (Kyodo News, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - A giant sinkhole has opened up in the Japanese city of Fukuoka.

Residents of the city on the north coast of Kyushu saw the sinkhole swallow an entire five-lane road in the middle of the city.

Japanese authorities evacuated people from nearby buildings as a safety precaution, but despite widespread disruption to traffic, and to supplies of electricity, water and gas, incredibly there were no injuries.

The massive sinkhole near Hakata Station measured 27m wide and 30m long, with water from broken pipelines flooding the 15m deep hole.

Sinkholes are not as rare as you may think. In September this year, a huge sinkhole opened up in Florida underneath a fertiliser plant.

And in 2013, another sinkhole in Florida suddenly opened up in the east Tampa suburb of Seffner and swallowed a man while he slept in his bed.

Fundamental flaw

Despite frantic digging, his brother was unable to rescue him.

In the majority of cases it is the weather which triggers such huge holes to appear in the ground.

The ground collapses when the rock underneath the surface soil, known as bedrock, gives way.

This often happens when the bedrock is made of tiny pieces of rock or shells which have been compacted together into a solid substance called sedimentary rock.

These rocks have a rather fundamental flaw in that they dissolve in water.

Every time it rains, water filters down through the bedrock, causing it to slowly erode.

This causes cracks to appear in the bedrock which gradually widen, creating empty cavities beneath the surface.

The rainwater will then gradually wash the surface soil down into the cavities, weakening the surface.

Eventually the soil above the cavity is no longer be able to support itself and the ground collapses.

Local authorities are investigating the cause of the latest sinkhole in Japan, but reports suggest ongoing subway construction work nearby may have been a factor.

WATCH the video:

Read more on:    japan

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.