Monday, May 5, 2014

Mysterious Holes In Indiana Sand Dune Could Be 'New Geological Phenomenon'

Huffington Post, April 28, 2014:

Mysterious Holes In Indiana Sand Dune Could Be 'New Geological Phenomenon'

Mysterious holes that were discovered at an Indiana sand dune last year -- and which nearly swallowed a child -- will keep a Lake Michigan park closed indefinitely. The National Park Service announced last week that Mt. Baldy in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, about an hour from Chicago, will be closed for the summer and beyond. The decision was made after two new holes in the dunes were found. “The continued development of these holes in the dune surface poses a serious risk to the public," Acting Superintendent Garry Traynham said in a statement.

Scientists have been unable to determine how the holes, which seem to appear and disappear within a day, are formed in the 43-acre dune. “We’re seeing what appears to be a new geological phenomenon,” geologist Erin Argyilan, who is studying the holes and dunes, told the Chicago Tribune. According to the paper, the holes are about a foot in diameter. Last July, part of the dune collapsed, burying a 6-year-old boy. The child was rescued, but needed rehabilitation after the incident. According to the Associated Press, he was buried for about three hours under 11 feet of sand, but is believed to have survived because of an air pocket. The Environmental Protection Agency has used radar to identify anomalies below the surface, but months later, researchers -- including those from the National Park Service, Indiana University and the Indiana Geological Survey -- are still stumped.

Interesting. And this equally perplexing geological phenomenon occurring in Oklahoma:

May 5, 2014:
Oklahoma Earthquake Risk Prompts Rare Warning
Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. This major increase in seismic shaking led to a rare earthquake warning today (May 5) from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. In a joint statement, the agencies said the risk of a damaging earthquake — one larger than magnitude 5.0 — has significantly increased in central Oklahoma. Geologists don't know when or where the state's next big earthquake will strike, nor will they put a number on the increased risk. "We haven't seen this before in Oklahoma, so we had some concerns about putting a specific number on the chances of it," Robert Williams, a research geophysicist with the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Golden, Colorado

In Florida, sinkhole risks are growing exponentially. BusinessWeek reported March 2013,
"With all this growth comes a further quality-of-life problem: Sinkholes. Thrust into the national spotlight last week after a homeowner died when his house collapsed, the sinkhole that killed Jeff Bush wasn’t even one of the state’s 15,000 verified sinkholes, which are located mainly in central Florida and around Tampa. Plenty are unverified, according to research from CoreLogic. Springhill, on the state’s west coast, has the greatest number of verified sinkholes, with 3,145—roughly one for every 31 residents. Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties are home to an area known as “sinkhole alley.”" ... Outside Florida, no major U.S. cities have natural sinkhole problems, says Botts, although underground pipes can burst and wash away dirt that supports roads, or an underground mine could collapse."

A spate of sinkholes has opened up this week in various parts of Florida:


Attorney John Bales explains how sinkholes form (in FL)

The Serious Problem of Sinkholes in Florida
Sinkholes are becoming more prevalent than ever before in Florida. Officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimate there are thousands of these depressions located across the state. While sinkholes are a naturally occurring event, they can cause property damage, and in some cases, serious injuries.

These numbers and facts leave many citizens wondering what the causes of sinkholes are. The Tampa Sinkhole Claims Lawyers with John Bales Attorneys explain the ground in Florida consists principally of limestone and dolostone. Over time, water is able to erode away areas of the bedrock, allowing sinkholes to form.

There tend to be two types of sinkholes that form in the state of Florida: collapse and solution sinkholes. Collapse sinkholes fall in quickly and tend to form in areas that have clay sediment topping the bedrock. Solution sinkholes form slowly and are caused by water filling in gaps in the bedrock and washing away supporting sediments.

USGS reports several large quakes today and yesterday:
 --6.0 9km S of Mae Lao, Thailand
--6.0 23km ESE of Ito, Japan
--6.6 South of the Fiji Islands 
--6.1 South of the Fiji Islands

And a rare quake in France-

French pilgrimage town Lourdes hit by quake  
"Though seismic activity is relatively rare in France, a 4.7 magnitude quake hit the holy pilgrimage site of Lourdes on Tuesday. This latest quake comes less than a month after a similar one rattled southeastern France."
 
I can't claim to know what's happening geologically, but I do know that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. (1 Corinthians 10:26). He will continue to stress the earth and its inhabitants to alert us to our fallen state and the open offer of free grace from Jesus to repent and be forgiven.

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