Thursday, April 30, 2015

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVALS: Massive Sinkhole Opens Up In Breda, The Netherlands - Residents Without Water After Main Break!



April 30, 2015 - THE NETHERLANDS
- A water main break in Breda flooded streets and left area residents without water Sunday, utility firm Brabant Water announced.

The break caused a sinkhole on Haagweg, leading the company to send repair crews to the scene.

A traffic detour was set up around Haagweg, to give water crews room to work.





The incident began at about 5 a.m.

The area around Haagweg and Gooren, a street 150 meters east of there, is without water until about 8 p.m., the company said less than two hours later.
Residents and businesses in need of water were told to visit a distribution point at Verbeetenstraat 2, where they could bring buckets, bottles and gas cans to collect as much water as they could carry.


WATCH: Sinkhole opens up in the Netherlands.




Those with tankless water heaters were advised to extinguish the pilot light and shut the gas off to the device.

Once the water is restored, it could be brown in color. Anyone with brown water should let their water taps run until the liquid is clear, Brabant Water said. - NLTimes.




SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Solar Magnetic Flux Ropes Seen For The First Time - Linked To Eruption Of Large Solar Flares That Change Magnetic Fields, Causing Radiation And Energetic Particles To Rain On Earth!



April 30, 2015 - SPACE
- A new telescope has peered into the Sun to see solar magnetic flux ropes for the first time. Severe flux rope twists have been described as being like "earthquakes" on the sun, and are linked to eruptions of large solar flares that change magnetic fields, and cause radiation and energetic particles to rain on Earth.

We don't know much about solar magnetic flux ropes. We know they affect space weather, but thanks to climate experts we already "know" they can't possibly, ever in a million years, affect Earth's weather. Even though we've only just been able to see them and have no long term data on them, we have Global Circulation Climate models (which don't include these solar factors), so we have 95% certainty that none of the particles, fields or radiation changes have much impact on Earth. They might fritz satellites, electronics and communications, but Earth's atmosphere has no electrical component (wink), and the models "work" (kinda, sorta, apart from "the pause", the arctic, the ocean, the antarctic, and the holocene) without any of this fuzzy solar stuff. Got that? Repeat after me. The Sun does not affect Earth's climate. (Good boys and girls. You are fit for a government grant.)


Fine details of a magnetic flux rope captured by the New Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory for Solar Active Region 11817 on 2013 August 11. The structure is
further demonstrated by the 3-D magnetic modeling based the observations of Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board Solar Dynamic Observatory.   © Chang Liu
 

Fine details of a magnetic flux rope captured by the New Solar Telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory for Solar Active Region 11817 on 2013 August 11. The structure is further demonstrated by the 3-D magnetic modeling based the observations of Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager on board Solar Dynamic Observatory.
Science Daily: Scientists at NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) have captured the first high-resolution images of the flaring magnetic structures known as solar flux ropes at their point of origin in the Sun's chromosphere.

Flux ropes are bundles of magnetic fields that together rotate and twist around a common axis, driven by motions in the photosphere, a high-density layer of the Sun's atmosphere below the solar corona and chromosphere.
David's solar notch delay theory, which predicts cooling, by the way, is doing very well. We'll be discussing an update and more news on his theory that TSI is a leading indicator (but not a direct cause) of temperature changes on Earth in up and coming posts. Energetic particles, solar winds, changes in radiation and magnetic fields, are all candidates for the force (or forces) that influence Earth's climate, but are delayed by half a full solar cycle (of ~22 years) from changes in the TSI.

Previous problems with Fourier transform approximations have been fixed, and a delay is indeed implied by the notch. Sorry about the big gap in publications on it, there is something scientifically big going on (separate from the ND solar theory) behind the scenes and he prefers to work with a low profile rather than in the "blood sport" distraction that publicity brings. Thanks to all the people who support our ground breaking research. Donations to this blog keep us both going. To the team who make independent science and independent science commentary possible — We're very grateful, we can't do this without you.

We will be entering the fray again soon. I have a series of posts lined up. Thanks for your patience.

The Press release: New solar telescope peers deep into the sun to track the origins of space weather
- JoNova.



MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Researchers Think U.S. Northwest Submarine Volcano "Axial Seamount" Is Erupting - Right On Schedule!

A “snowblower” hydrothermal vent spews hot water and white bits of bacterial mat that are blooming in the chemical-rich hot-spring water, showing that the lava flow that
was erupted in 2011 at Axial Seamount is still cooling.
© Bill Chadwick, Oregon State University, Copyright Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

April 30, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- Axial Seamount, an active underwater volcano located about 300 miles off the coast of Oregon and Washington, appears to be erupting - after two scientists had forecast that such an event would take place there in 2015.

Geologists Bill Chadwick of Oregon State University and Scott Nooner of the University of North Carolina Wilmington made their forecast last September during a public lecture and followed it up with blog posts and a reiteration of their forecast just last week at a scientific workshop.

They based their forecast on some of their previous research - funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which showed how the volcano inflates and deflates like a balloon in a repeatable pattern as it responds to magma being fed into the seamount.

Since last Friday, the region has experienced thousands of tiny earthquakes - a sign that magma is moving toward the surface - and the seafloor dropped by 2.4 meters, or nearly eight feet, also a sign of magma being withdrawn from a reservoir beneath the summit. Instrumentation recording the activity is part of the NSF-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative. William Wilcock of the University of Washington first observed the earthquakes.

"It isn't clear yet whether the earthquakes and deflation at Axial are related to a full-blown eruption, or if it is only a large intrusion of magma that hasn't quite reached the surface," said Chadwick, who works out of OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport and also is affiliated with NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. "There are some hints that lava did erupt, but we may not know for sure until we can get out there with a ship."



© Bill Chadwick, Oregon State University
 
In any case, the researchers say, such an eruption is not a threat to coastal residents. The earthquakes at Axial Seamount are small and the seafloor movements gradual and thus cannot cause a tsunami.

"I have to say, I was having doubts about the forecast even the night before the activity started," Chadwick admitted. "We didn't have any real certainty that it would take place - it was more of a way to test our hypothesis that the pattern we have seen was repeatable and predictable."

Axial Seamount provides scientists with an ideal laboratory, not only because of its close proximity to the Northwest coast, but for its unique structure.

"Because Axial is on very thin ocean crust, its 'plumbing system' is simpler than at most volcanoes on land that are often complicated by other factors related to having a thicker crust," said Chadwick, who is an adjunct professor in OSU's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. "Thus Axial can give us insights into how volcano magma systems work - and how eruptions might be predicted."

Axial Seamount last erupted in 2011 and that event was loosely forecast by Chadwick and Nooner, who had said in 2006 that the volcano would erupt before 2014. Since the 2011 eruption, additional research led to a refined forecast that the next eruption would be in 2015 based on the fact that the rate of inflation had increased by about 400 percent since the last eruption.

"We've learned that the supply rate of magma has a big influence on the time between eruptions," Nooner said. "When the magma rate was lower, it took 13 years between eruptions. But now when the magma rate is high, it took only four years."

Chadwick and Nooner are scheduled to go back to Axial in August to gather more data, but it may be possible for other researchers to visit the seamount on an expedition as early as May. They hope to confirm the eruption and, if so, measure the volume of lava involved.

Evidence that was key to the successful forecast came in the summer of 2014 via measurements taken by colleagues Dave Caress and Dave Clague of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Mark Zumberge and Glenn Sasagawa of Scripps Oceanographic Institution. Those measurements showed the high rate of magma inflation was continuing. - Oregon State University.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Chile's Calbuco Volcano Erupts Again - Sending Cloud Of Ash And Gas Spewing Into The Sky!

The Calbuco volcano erupted again Thursday, releasing a large column of ash into the air just over a week after it spectacularly roared to life
following half a century of inactivity.   © Carlos Vera/AFP/Getty Images

April 30, 2015 - CHILE
- The Chilean volcano that erupted spectacularly twice last week is causing more chaos after once again spewing a cloud of ash and gas into the sky

Calbuco began erupting again today, sending a massive plume of smoke into the clear blue sky.

The volcano spewed over 200 million tonnes of ash last week, coating nearby towns, wrecking the local salmon industry, and forcing the cancellation of flights as far as Buenos Aires, some 870 miles away.

The volcano had gone quiet, but geological officials had warned it was still unstable and could erupt again.

Calbuco, one of the most active along a chain of around 2,000 in Chile, is in the scenic Los Lagos region around 1,000km (620 miles) south of the capital, Santiago. - Mirror.



PLANETARY TREMORS: Very Strong 6.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Papua New Guinea - No Tsunami Warning! [MAPS + TECTONIC SUMMARY]

USGS earthquake location map.

April 30, 2015 - PAPUA NEW GUINEA
- A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck New Britain island off Papua New Guinea Thursday, 131 kilometres (81 miles) southwest of the town of Kokopo, US seismologists said.

The quake hit the island at 1045 GMT, northeast of mainland Papua. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said "a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected."

The quake hit at a depth of 48.9 kilometres and the US Geological Survey initially reported the earthquake's magnitude at 6.8, but later revised its strength.

Geoscience Australia senior seismologist Mark Leonard said the depth of the quake and its location meant the tremor was unlikely to cause any serious damage to Papua New Guinea.

"It's this deep and it's just on the end of the coast, so the area of damage is only a few kilometres around," Leonard told AFP. "That outpost of New Britain is very sparsely populated so we're not really expecting any serious damage."


USGS shakemap intensity.

Leonard added that no tsunami would be generated as there was no displacement of sea floors for an earthquake at this depth.

The epicentre was 680 kilometres from Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby.

New Britain is the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, east of mainland New Guinea, and has a population of around 500,000 people.

The island lies on the 4,000-kilometre long Pacific Australia plate, which forms part of the "Ring of Fire," a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

A 7.5-magnitude quake hit the region on Mar 30, some 55 kilometres from Kokopo, without triggering a tsunami, though the tremor sent startled residents fleeing from their homes. - Channel News Asia.


Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the New Guinea Region and Vicinity

The Australia-Pacific plate boundary is over 4000 km long on the northern margin, from the Sunda (Java) trench in the west to the Solomon Islands in the east. The eastern section is over 2300 km long, extending west from northeast of the Australian continent and the Coral Sea until it intersects the east coast of Papua New Guinea. The boundary is dominated by the general northward subduction of the Australia plate.

Along the South Solomon trench, the Australia plate converges with the Pacific plate at a rate of approximately 95 mm/yr towards the east-northeast. Seismicity along the trench is dominantly related to subduction tectonics and large earthquakes are common: there have been 13 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded since 1900. On April 1, 2007, a M8.1 interplate megathrust earthquake occurred at the western end of the trench, generating a tsunami and killing at least 40 people. This was the third M8.1 megathrust event associated with this subduction zone in the past century; the other two occurred in 1939 and 1977.

Further east at the New Britain trench, the relative motions of several microplates surrounding the Australia-Pacific boundary, including north-south oriented seafloor spreading in the Woodlark Basin south of the Solomon Islands, maintain the general northward subduction of Australia-affiliated lithosphere beneath Pacific-affiliated lithosphere. Most of the large and great earthquakes east of New Guinea are related to this subduction; such earthquakes are particularly concentrated at the cusp of the trench south of New Ireland. 33 M7.5+ earthquakes have been recorded since 1900, including three shallow thrust fault M8.1 events in 1906, 1919, and 2007.


USGS plate tectonics for the region.


The western end of the Australia-Pacific plate boundary is perhaps the most complex portion of this boundary, extending 2000 km from Indonesia and the Banda Sea to eastern New Guinea. The boundary is dominantly convergent along an arc-continent collision segment spanning the width of New Guinea, but the regions near the edges of the impinging Australia continental margin also include relatively short segments of extensional, strike-slip and convergent deformation. The dominant convergence is accommodated by shortening and uplift across a 250-350 km-wide band of northern New Guinea, as well as by slow southward-verging subduction of the Pacific plate north of New Guinea at the New Guinea trench. Here, the Australia-Pacific plate relative velocity is approximately 110 mm/yr towards the northeast, leading to the 2-8 mm/yr uplift of the New Guinea Highlands.

Whereas the northern band of deformation is relatively diffuse east of the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border, in western New Guinea there are at least two small (less than 100,000 km²) blocks of relatively undeformed lithosphere. The westernmost of these is the Birds Head Peninsula microplate in Indonesia's West Papua province, bounded on the south by the Seram trench. The Seram trench was originally interpreted as an extreme bend in the Sunda subduction zone, but is now thought to represent a southward-verging subduction zone between Birds Head and the Banda Sea.

There have been 22 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded in the New Guinea region since 1900. The dominant earthquake mechanisms are thrust and strike slip, associated with the arc-continent collision and the relative motions between numerous local microplates. The largest earthquake in the region was a M8.2 shallow thrust fault event in the northern Papua province of Indonesia that killed 166 people in 1996.

The western portion of the northern Australia plate boundary extends approximately 4800 km from New Guinea to Sumatra and primarily separates Australia from the Eurasia plate, including the Sunda block. This portion is dominantly convergent and includes subduction at the Sunda (Java) trench, and a young arc-continent collision.

In the east, this boundary extends from the Kai Islands to Sumba along the Timor trough, offset from the Sunda trench by 250 km south of Sumba. Contrary to earlier tectonic models in which this trough was interpreted as a subduction feature continuous with the Sunda subduction zone, it is now thought to represent a subsiding deformational feature related to the collision of the Australia plate continental margin and the volcanic arc of the Eurasia plate, initiating in the last 5-8 Myr. Before collision began, the Sunda subduction zone extended eastward to at least the Kai Islands, evidenced by the presence of a northward-dipping zone of seismicity beneath Timor Leste. A more detailed examination of the seismic zone along it's eastern segment reveals a gap in intermediate depth seismicity under Timor and seismic mechanisms that indicate an eastward propagating tear in the descending slab as the negatively buoyant oceanic lithosphere detaches from positively buoyant continental lithosphere. On the surface, GPS measurements indicate that the region around Timor is currently no longer connected to the Eurasia plate, but instead is moving at nearly the same velocity as the Australia plate, another consequence of collision.

Large earthquakes in eastern Indonesia occur frequently but interplate megathrust events related to subduction are rare; this is likely due to the disconnection of the descending oceanic slab from the continental margin. There have been 9 M7.5+ earthquakes recorded from the Kai Islands to Sumba since 1900. The largest was the great Banda Sea earthquake of 1938 (M8.5) an intermediate depth thrust faulting event that did not cause significant loss of life.

More information on regional seismicity and tectonics

- USGS.




OMEN: Portents, Symbolism, Signs, Disaster Precursors And Animal Behavior - Calf Born With TWO HEADS At Florida Farm?! [PHOTO + VIDEO]

A two-headed calf. © WLS-TV

April 30, 2015 - FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
- Dwight Crews said the two-headed calf is the first he's seen in 60 years of raising cattle.

A Florida farmer said he was shocked when one of his cows gave birth to a living two-headed calf, but experts said the calf is unlikely to live for very long.

Dwight Crews, a Baker County farmer who has been raising cattle for more than 60 years, said it was clear right away that the calf born Sunday was unusual.

"A two-headed calf! I can not believe it,"
Crews told WJXT-TV. "I've heard of them, but I've never seen one. This is my first one."

Crew said the female calf, which his daughter dubbed Annabel, has trouble standing up, but she has been feeding from a bottle. He said the calf's other mouth moves when one mouth is suckling.


WATCH: Two-headed calf reared on Florida farm.




The farmer said Annabel's mother has been keeping tabs on her.

"She will come in and lick her, smell her and make sure she's OK, I guess, and then she'll go back out and she'll stay gone for a while and then she'll come back again," Crews said.

Crews said he has been in contact with Ripley's Believe It or Not, which said the longest a two-headed calf has survived is only 40 days.

The farmer said he is hoping Annabel can beat the record.

"I would like to see her live, and see her get up and walk and function," Crews said. - UPI.




ICE AGE NOW: Record April Low Temperatures Logged Overnight In Parts Of Northern Territory, Australia - 1.7C Is The Coldest-Ever In April!

A weather map released at 3:30am (CST) highlights temperatures in Australia during the early hours of April 30.  © ABC licensed

April 30, 2015 - AUSTRALIA
- People in parts of the Northern Territory have experienced the coolest night of the year so far, with new record lows for April expected to be recorded in several places.

At 6:00am (CST) the temperature at Middle Point, 66 kilometres south-west of Darwin, was down to 13.1 Celsius, making it the coldest April temperature ever recorded at the site.

The temperature in Alice Springs was a chilly 1.7C overnight, making it the coolest night so far this year and fractionally above its coldest-ever recorded April temperature of 1.4C.

Bureau of Meteorology acting senior forecaster Billy Lynch said he expected it would have been an April record in several parts of the Top End overnight.

"It is just an indication that we are getting off to a really good start to the Dry Season," Mr Lynch said.

The low temperatures were also affecting Darwin, where it got down to 20.5C, making it the coolest night of the year so far.

But the record low overnight at Middle Point was still above the coolest temperature ever recorded in Darwin, which was just 10.4C in July 1942. - Weather Zone.




MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: U.S. Northwest Submarine Volcano "Axial Seamount" Likely Just Erupted, As The Celestial Black Event Nears - 8,000 Small Earthquakes In Just 24 Hours; Scientists Stunned!

A seismometer is deployed on the underwater Axial Volcano in 2014.

April 30, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- A new seafloor observatory operated by the University of Washington is providing unprecedented detail about the possible eruption of a submarine volcano off the Northwest coast.

More than 80 scientists from around the world gathered in Seattle last week to discuss a thrilling development: For the first time, seafloor instruments were providing a real-time look at the most active, submarine volcano off the Northwest coast — and all signs indicated it might erupt soon.

But even the researchers most closely monitoring Axial Seamount were stunned by what happened next.

Beginning Thursday, April 23 — the day after the workshop ended — the new sensors recorded 8,000 small earthquakes in a 24-hour period. The volcano's caldera, which had been swelling rapidly from an influx of magma, collapsed like a deflated balloon.


"All the alarm bells were going off," said Oregon State University volcanologist Bill Chadwick, who along with a colleague predicted last year that the volcano would erupt in 2015. "It was very exciting."

Scientists are still debating whether to describe what transpired as an eruption, which means molten rock flowed onto the seafloor. No instruments were destroyed and there was no obvious temperature spike, so the magma might have oozed into subterranean fissures, forming what's called a dike.

Chadwick is among those who suspect lava did burst out, probably north of where the new instruments are clustered. "This was a major event," he said. "A lot of magma moved, and that makes a lot of us think it had to erupt somewhere."

The only way to find out for sure is to visit the site with a research vessel, which he and his colleagues will do this summer.




But despite the ambiguity, the ability to monitor the submarine upheaval as it unfolded marks a major milestone for the United States' first underwater observatory. Operated by the University of Washington and completed last fall, the $200 million network includes 600 miles of coaxial cable on the seafloor that powers and delivers data from scores of seismometers, tilt meters, microbial samplers and other instruments.

UW oceanographer John Delaney first proposed the system nearly two decades ago, and is delighted to finally see the vision realized — and bearing scientific fruit.

"It's like Christmas squared," he said. "This proves beyond a doubt the value of the cable and the data that's flowing ashore."

Delaney helped organize last week's workshop for scientists interested in tapping the new source of data on Axial Seamount, and in discussing the current volcanic unrest.

The seafloor network is part of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative. It's designed to study everything from marine life to water chemistry and plate tectonics. Nearly 30 instruments are situated on or around Axial Seamount, because so much is going on there.

"This is really the only observatory in the world on an active, underwater volcano," said UW oceanographer Deborah Kelley.

Topping out at about 3,000 feet high, Axial is more like Hawaii's shield volcanoes than the Cascades' towering cones. It straddles the Juan De Fuca Ridge — a seam in the ocean bottom where magma wells up and fresh seafloor is born.

Most of the instruments are concentrated in the volcano's central caldera, which is nearly 2 miles wide and 5 miles long. The caldera is also dotted with hydrothermal vents and fantastical chimneys called black smokers, which Kelley has studied for years, along with the communities of tube worms and heat-loving microbes that thrive in the inhospitable conditions.

But Axial isn't easy to get to. It lies under nearly a mile of water and sits almost 300 miles offshore. In the past, Kelley and other scientists had to rely on costly and sporadic research cruises to gather data and deploy temporary instruments.

The last time the volcano erupted was in April 2011, but Chadwick and his colleagues didn't realize it until several months later, when they retrieved battery-operated instruments deployed more than a year before.

"Now with this cabled array out there, we can keep an eye on it every day," Chadwick said. "When something happens, we know IT ... and you can look at patterns over a long period of time."

The first data from the seafloor seismometers started streaming live in December. It wasn't long before the instruments detected a growing drumbeat of small quakes that seemed to signal magma was on the move. Pressure sensors and tilt meters picked up swelling at a rate four times faster than previously measured.

Based on earlier observations made from ships, Chadwick had already taken the bold step of predicting the volcano would erupt sometime in 2015. The observatory data bolstered the argument, but even Chadwick had his doubts until Friday morning, when he and dozens of other scientists were glued to their computers, watching the seismometer readings pour in.

"There must have been a million emails flying back and forth," he said. "Lots of people were looking at the data trying to figure out what was happening."

(The volcano started rumbling well before Saturday's massive earthquake in Nepal, and scientists say the events are not linked.)





Despite its early success, the underwater observatory has run into several snags as it gets up to speed. Cameras deployed last year failed. The Navy has occasionally restricted the flow of seismic signals, out of concern that scientists might be able to track submarine movements.

Most significantly, the National Science Foundation and its contractors still have not developed all the software necessary to process and manage the growing stream of information.

While seismometer readings are being streamed and are publicly accessible, data from the tilt meters and pressure sensors are only being released to a handful of researchers. Other instruments, like water chemistry and microbial sensors, still aren't set up to distribute information.

But none of the initial data will be lost. It's all being temporarily stored at the UW, Delaney said.

When they visit the volcano later this year, Chadwick and other researchers will use remotely operated vehicles and other instruments to scrutinize its northern flanks. Faint signals from some of the seismometers hint that lava may have broken through there.

The researchers are also interested in the question of whether Axial is entering a more active phase. The 2011 eruption came after a 13-year quiet period, but the current activity started after only a four-year pause.

Though underwater volcanoes pose no hazard to humans, insights gleaned from them might also be applied to volcanoes on land someday, particularly when it comes to the tricky question of predicting eruptions and issuing warnings that can disrupt lives and economies.

Except for the possibility of wounded pride and failed hypotheses, testing prediction schemes on submarine volcanoes is relatively painless, Chadwick pointed out.

"On the seafloor it's easier to make wild statements because there's pretty much no consequence to people," he said. - Seattle Times.




GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Massive 100-METRE Sinkhole Opens Up In Solotvino, Ukraine As Planetary Transformations Escalate Ahead Of The Celestial Black Event - Villagers Terrified After Reports That The Hole Has Swallowed Up Several Homes!

Swallowed up: This huge sinkhole measuring around 100m wide by 60m deep has appeared in the village of Solotvino in the Zakarpatska Oblast region of western Ukraine

April 30, 2015 - UKRAINE
- Spanning 100 metres across and some 60 metres deep, this gigantic hole could be a meteor crater.

But it's understood to have been caused by something far closer to home - humble salt.

Terrified residents fear their homes will soon vanish after it suddenly opened up in their Ukrainian village, reportedly swallowing seven houses in the process.

Now they are demanding the government act to either stop the hole getting even bigger or move them to a new, safer location.


WATCH: Stunning sinkhole swallows up homes in Ukraine.





The abyss on their doorsteps: The remaining residents are demanding the government act to either stop the hole getting even bigger or move them to a new, safer location

Problems for the village of Solotvino in the Zakarpatska Oblast region of western Ukraine began 220 years ago when the first salt mines started to appear.

When they were closed down, the mine shafts left behind gradually collected water, which in turn has been slowly dissolving the underground rock formations.

The liquidized salty water then drains away, leaving a huge underground cavern which, when it collapses, brings hundreds of thousands of tonnes of earth crashing into vast pits like this one.

Villagers say there are at least five of the holes, although this one pictured is by far the largest.

It is creating what is known as a Karst landscape, formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum, and characterised by sinkholes.

Villager Leopold Uvarov, 38, said: 'This huge abyss formed near the village in just a day.

'It was around 60 metres wide and at least 45 metres deep, but it's growing all the time.'

Another villager, Ivan Prokop, 53, said they noticed the first sinkhole 11 years ago.

He claims it began by taking away roads, some gardens and had then started swallowing houses.


He added: 'The holes are getting closer to other houses all the time.'


The abyss on their doorsteps: The remaining residents are demanding the government act to either stop the hole getting even bigger or move them to a new, safer location

He said that the last salt mine was closed in 2007 in Solotvino, but it did not stop the Karst erosion processes.

He said: 'At first, we thought it might just be one hole and it would stop, but it's clear the entire region will eventually sink.

'This abyss isn't the last one we will see. There will be more. The water is gathering in the old mines, the salt deposits are dissolving and our land will continue to vanish.'

Expert Oleksandr Poshtuk, who was employed by the local government to shut down the mines, said that the solution was to fill the tunnels with soil.

But villagers argue that this process had slowed down and then stopped when they realised it would cost around £10million to fill all of the mines take at least seven years.

Teenager Irina Zhygun, 17, said: 'It was really scary to stand on the edge and hear how stones are falling into the void. The reality is our entire village can vanish at any stage.'

Local officials say some two dozen families have already been moved, but 130 families are refusing to leave, saying the new settlement is in an area that has contaminated water and they will be no better off if they agree to the move.

Villager Boris Gedz, 67, a former miner, said: 'I am scared that I will end up falling into the ground as well, but I can't leave my house. My parents, I and my children grew up here.' -  Daily Mail.