Outside the city of Rotorua in New Zealand, an enormous sinkhole has just torn through a farm in an area that is known as Earthquake Flat. The void of the massive sinkhole has been estimated to be such that it could quite easily devour a six-story building. With a length that could neatly fit two football fields inside of it, this sinkhole is definitely turning heads.
As ScienceAlert reported, volcanologist Brad Scott has verified that other sinkholes he has personally witnessed have been only a fraction of the size of the one that was found in New Zealand, showing just how breathtakingly large it is.
“The largest I’ve seen prior to this would be about a third of the size of this, so this is really big.”
The sinkhole was accidentally discovered last week by a worker on the New Zealand farm as they were riding their motorcycle nearby. It was still early in the morning and dark. They were fortunately able to avoid falling into the deep chasm, and once the sun came up, the enormity of the size of the sinkhole shocked all who saw it.
Colin Tremain, the farm manager on the site, described the frightful moment when he first saw the sinkhole by the light of the sun, but noted that even if the area wasn’t fenced off, the cattle on the farm were much too smart to simply jump into it regardless.
“It wasn’t until I came down in daylight that I actually saw just how big it was. We’ll keep it fenced off as it is to keep stock out, although stock aren’t stupid, they’re not going to walk into a hole, they can spot danger.”
‘Biggest Ever’ Sinkhole Has Ripped Open in New Zealand, And It’s Unearthing History https://t.co/zUDemxPrDQ
— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) May 7, 2018
Brad Scott has suggested that this sinkhole could have been quietly waiting and forming for a century, as the falling rain slowly caused the limestone rock to erode. In fact, scientists believe that it was April’s powerful rains that may have been responsible for finally causing the rock to completely break apart, opening up the vast sinkhole.
Excitingly for scientists, peering inside this sinkhole has revealed a wealth of geological history, according to Scott.
“What I see in the bottom of this hole is the original 60,000-year-old volcanic deposit that came out of this crater. Then there’s a stack of about 10 to 12 meters of sediment sitting on top of it from lakes that have formed in this crater. The top three meters is volcanic ash.”
Farm assistant Gabriel Lafalla maintains that he is just happy to still be alive after his close brush with death at the edge of the sinkhole while it was still dark.
“I could have died. I touched myself [the sign of the cross] and said to myself, ‘I’m alive.'”
Now that New Zealand can claim to have the biggest sinkhole ever in their history, landslide scientists and volcanologists are flocking to the site to examine it up close.