Ray and Lynette McKay, were enjoying the retired life in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, when they discovered something amazing. The couple had no idea their Basin Pocket property and home was literally sitting on top of a disused mine shaft, which dated back to 1885! While that sounds exciting, even for history buffs, that is not the only phenomenal thing about this land.
How did they come to learn such interesting news? Although the married couple learned about their one-of-a-kind property recently, they actually bought the house in 1991.
Click ‘Next’ to know about the couple’s house history.
A Scary History
The house was built on Coal Street; however, the McKay’s did not know what that meant just yet. When Lynette told Guardian Australia about the unique find should said, “We were seriously shocked.” But that is not all! Did you notice an unusual looking swimming pool in their back yard?
That’s not just any water. The McKay’s backyard had a massive, dangerous sinkhole.
Did the underground mine shaft have anything to do with this crazy reaction?
Wet ‘N Wild
The sinkhole actually opened up in their backyard only after the 2011 Queensland floods. Sadly, Ray and Lynette lost everything when the natural disaster hit their home, destroying. They were forced to relocate in a hotel during the floods.
A mining team investigated the sinkhole. They examined the site and hoped to repair the land.
How does somebody even begin to fix a sinkhole? Is it even safe to get close to one? Probably not!
Not Their First Rodeo
Apparently Ipswich is home to frequent sinkholes! According to the town’s mayor Paul Pisasale, the sink hole was brought on by a collapse of an exploratory shaft dug at the site between 1903 and 1920.
The miners “should have recorded properly” the layout, but failed to do so. Nevertheless, the residents have dealt with a series of these collapses associated with sinkholes over the last several years.
What Nightmares Are Made Of
After massive flooding in 1974, multiple underground mines in Ipswich were forced to be abandoned. As a result, many buildings around them were destroyed. Now it happened again to the McKay’s property in 2011! It could have been fatal.
Wouldn’t that make the residents shutter a bit? Well, the local mayor pushed by concerns that other sinkholes from improperly recorded mining shafts might occur. However, he did concede remarking, “the past comes back to haunt you occasionally.”
All the way back from 1885!
A (Very) Little Reassurance
“We know which suburbs have got [mines] and if you look at all our planning maps for people buying residential property, everything is safe and it’s all recorded now online for everybody to see,” Paul Pisasale said.
The mayor of the Queensland town continued with “And only one per cent of Ipswich was ever mined. The mining industry doesn’t even exist now; our highest industry is aerospace and technology.”
That is good, but what about the abandoned, hidden mines that already exist underground?
Good Night, Sleep Tight
He finished by saying, “So those days are gone. But history always shows you the past comes back to haunt you occasionally.” Does that make the McKay’s feel any better about their sunken backyard? We are guessing that’s a no.
What did the McKay’s end up doing with the giant, unwelcomed swimming pool in their backyard? Did they have to move for their own safety? Would their entire house eventually end up in the sink?
It’s a bit of a mystery…
A Big Surprise
So how did the retired couple react when they saw their terrifying landscaping? Apparently Ray and Lynnette McKay woke up on a regular Tuesday morning, but someone was knocking on their door.
To their surprise, it was their next door neighbor. The friendly neighbor was explaining as calmly as possible that a sinkhole appeared in their backyard out of nowhere! It sounded a bit crazy at first, but it was obviously true.
The hole was both large and deep.
Most of the time, growing can be major milestones for things like plants or babies. However, when a sinkhole is growing, the results can be shockingly creepy. The McKay’s backyard was quickly falling apart.
The sinkhole started out to be roughly three feet in diameter; however, it reached a jaw-dropping 30 feet in diameter in a relatively short amount of time that same day.
What would become of the McKay’s and their house? They had to act fast!
That Good Ole Mayor
Paul Pisasale went on to tell the people of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, “Where I was concerned about this one was no one had any record of mining here, and I’m thinking, holy smokes, is there a problem here.”
“But it was never a mine, it was just a shaft that they created. One thing about back then, they were very bad at keeping records.”
They knew there was a shaft in the area, but it was recorded about 40 meters from where it actually was.
An area of Collingwood Park collapsed in 1988, prompting warnings about the stability about an area 250 meters away which then collapsed in catastrophic fashion in 2008. The state government had bought 14 homes that were damaged in the collapse and faced legal action from others.
In 2014, a Supreme Court ruling in a compensation claim by 18 other property owners found that the miner had over-mined the shafts, leaving smaller than required support pillars.
No wonder sinkholes are appearing.
Let’s Get In Formation
While a sinkhole in your backyard like the McKay’s is completely terrifying, it is not an entirely uncommon thing regarding science. Is the earth opening up to swallow you whole? Of course, not! But what is really happening to the earth when it seems to collapse into itself?
Most sinkholes are caused by natural processes of erosion, which is the gradual removal of soluble bedrock. The subtle removal occurs from things such as lowering of the water table, the collapse of a cave roof, or percolating water. Pictured is a sinkhole near the Dead Sea, which formed when the salt dissolved underground by an intrusion of freshwater after the sea-level dropped.
Keep reading to know more.
A Site To See
Another natural formation of sinkholes comes from the process of suffusion. This occurs when groundwater dissolves the carbonate cement which is supposed to hold the sandstone particles together. Instead, the water gradually forms a void by carrying away the lax particles.
There are several sinkholes across the globe that has appeared as a result of this natural process. Some of them are exceptionally large such as the Minye sinkhole in Papua New Guinea or the Cedar Sink at Mammoth Cave National Park, which is located in Kentucky.
Click next for more sink holes found from other places.
Solid As A Rock?!
While Kentucky, Papua New Guinea, and even Australia may seem like completely different landscapes, climates, and so on, they obviously have something in common. Sinkholes usually start below the land surface in limestone or other carbonate areas such as rock beds, salt beds, or soluble rocks like gypsum. The picture shows a sinkhole in gypsum in central Spain near Madrid.
These areas dissolve naturally by groundwater that circulates below the surface. However, sinkholes can also develop in quartzite terrains as well as sandstone,
so there is not really any place on earth that cannot experience a sinkhole (except Antarctica probably?!).
A Whole Hole
If you didn’t guess, as that rock dissolves, the space underground begins to crumble. The collapsing of a sinkhole can be dramatic as well as dangerous! In 2015, scientists discovered that sinkholes could even happen on the comet 67P according to the Rosetta space probe.
However, there are also artificial ways to build sinkholes besides natural process. That is exactly what happened to the McKay’s. While nobody purposely wanted to hurt them with a sinkhole,
it was formed by man-made activity such as the underground mine shafts.
Queensland, Australia is not the only place with collapses caused by underground mines. The abandoned areas and salt cavern storages in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas eventually created giant holes as well. Hopefully in those cases, the shafts were properly documented so the residents could be ready for the deadly fall.
If it happened directly under a house, store, or car, not only would property be damaged or lost, but also people.
Luckily for Ray and Lynette McKay, they were not injured by the sudden sinkhole in their backyard.
What A Mess!
In other artificial formations, sinkholes formed because of water main or sewer pipes break. That would not only be slippery, but smelly! Could you image not only the extra water everywhere but the dirtiness of that particular liquid?
If industrial plants change their water-drainage patterns, it could be catastrophic. Other times, the initial flow of such heavy water cannot withstand the weight, which can trigger a collapse.
When the land surface is changed, it will cause a cavity to form below the surface.
Back In The Day
Can you imagine that someone would actually make a sinkhole on purpose? Not in the sense that human activity caused it, like in the case of the McKay’s sinkhole, but they genuinely wanted to create a giant, swallowing hole.
That is exactly what the Maya civilization did. They would sometimes use the power of sinkholes in the Yucatan Peninsula. Sinkholes were known as cenotes and were used for precious items or human sacrifices.
Other cultures have used sinkholes for centuries as disposal sites for a variety of waste.
A Cave Of Wonders
Cave sinkholes are common, but not talked about much because they don’t affect everyday residents. However, they can be dangerous even for experienced cavers and divers. Just because they have water in them does not mean that are technically sinkholes.
One of the most spectacular underwater sinkholes is the Zacaton cenote, which is in Mexico. It is actually the world’s deepest water-filled sinkhole on the planet.
Other amazing ones include the Boesmansgat sinkhole in South Africa and the Sarisarinama tepuy in Venezuela.
A Beautiful Blue
Blue holes are sinkholes that form around islands and coral reefs. They are popular diving spots for professionals with practically never-ending depths. The Great Blue Hole near Ambergris Caye, Belize is one of the most famous blue holes on earth.
The colorful name was originally used to describe the sinkholes in the Bahamas. The shade is created by the clarity of the water as well as the depth of the sinkhole.
The unique shade can only be rendered naturally when such a depth is penetrated and returned after reflection.
What’s In A Name?
While the Mayan water-filled sinkholes were called cenotes, sotanos is the name given to a number of massive sinkhole pits in Mexico. The term tomo is used in the country of New Zealand to describe holes as well as pot holes.
The Chinese word tiankengs means sky holes. These overwhelming large sinkholes are usually deeper or wider than 820 feet. They also have mostly vertical walls, which occurs when the underground cavern collapses.
Although they have different names in various places, the phenomenon is relatively the same.
In West Philadelphia Born And Raised
Recently, in January of 2017, two homeowners learned firsthand what a sinkhole was all about! The 20-foot-deep sinkhole devoured parts of the residential homes as well as other trees and other items like the sidewalk and driveway.
Luckily, this nice truck was saved from the swallow. Also, nobody was hurt, although we are not quite sure how they moved the vehicle out of the harm’s way.
It must have been a sudden collapse the way the tree broke and the truck rolled back into the massive underground hole.
Everything Is Bigger In Texas
This particular sinkhole happened in San Antonio. Sadly, the scary situation took the lives of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy as well as two others. Their cars plunged into the water as the sinkhole collapsed.
The accident occurred on December 4, 2016. After investigation, it was discovered that the sinkhole was formed after a sewer line broke during heavy rainfall the previous day. This is one of many incidents when sinkholes can be deadly.
Without notice, anyone can fall victim to one.
The St. Louis Sinkhole
This is quite the aerial view. Apparently, the owners of the vehicle were heading back home from the gym when the car fell into the crater. It must have been fast, and scary, considering the gym-goer did not drive into the hole but rather suddenly appeared in the middle of the formation.
Although the car was eaten up by the sinkhole, a crane was able to remove it from the space, which would later be repaired. The crazy incident occurred in 2017 and thankfully nobody was injured.
More sink holes next pages.
Semis Down South
In north Georgia, a giant 55,000-pound excavation truck was no match for Mother Nature’s sinkhole. The driver was near a car wash, but did want this type of detail. The semi was partially engulfed by the sinkhole.
Everything happened on Wallis Road in Hall County in the Diamond Auto Spa parking lot. Even though it was January 2017, it was warm enough down south to avoid having any snow on the roads.
Maybe the warmer weather contributed to the problem to begin with?!
This Is Not Photoshopped!
Tropical storm Agatha hit Guatemala City with heavy rains as we turned the calendars from May to June in 2010. Roads collapsed and highway bridges broke all across the Central American city.
More than 94,000 people were forced to evacuate the area. Mud covered the homes and buried the town. An overwhelming sinkhole also overtook the town.
At least 175 people perished during the tropical storm.
Yes, There Is Someone In That Car
That someone was Pamela Knox. She had to wait for a rescue team in her car on July 3, 2013 after a sinkhole swallowed her up. Pamela Knox is from Toledo, Ohio and probably never imagined her summer afternoon to end up quite like this.
Luckily, she was not hurt during the incident. Like with other sinkholes, fire officials revealed to the local news that the giant hole was actually caused by a water main break in the city.
Keep reading about sink holes in different places.
Even In Ontario
Canada is no stranger to sinkholes. On Rideau Street by the Rideau Centre mall in Ottawa, an enormous sinkhole formed. It was near not only the mall but other buildings as it is considered a major intersection. The customers and employees alike had to leave the premises on June 8, 2016 when the sinkhole struck.
Although a van toppled into the water-filled sinkhole, nobody was injured during the unexpected event.
Talk about a serious construction project that needs to be done immediately!
Back on August 18, 2011, a woman tried to drive slowly through this sinkhole in Detroit. As you can see, she was unsuccessful. Police reported that the driver, her daughter and granddaughter all escaped the vehicle without injury.!
However, the SUV did not have the same fate as it sank further into the sinkhole. The water-filled hole opened up on Detroit’s northeast side on Beaubien at Smith.
Quite the sight to see even for the 313. Click next.
That Pool Probably Wasn’t Cheap
Imagine waking up one morning, like the McKay’s, to see something incredibly different in your yard. In the McKay’s case, they had a water-filled sinkhole in their yard resembling a pool. In Tennessee, the Thelans’ pool was actually completely drained.
A gaping sinkhole visited the Tennessee family on December 7, 2011. As the hole tripled in size within 24 hours and ventured closer to their home,
they were forced to flee with their belongings until it stabilized.
Pass The Pancakes
At Taichung Port in Taiwan a sinkhole opened up after an earthquake struck the area. The disaster happened on September 25, 1999. Ironically, the hole was filled with molasses after a nearby storage tank was destroyed during the quake, which took place a few days prior on the 21st.
The man looks onward into the sinkhole. He is pretty brave in you think about it because the road might continue to crumble.
If you have an overactive imagination, something might even rise up out of the syrupy mess.
99 Problems And A Sinkhole Is One
The Dead Sea is an interesting body of water if not by name but by mixture. As the sea retreats, it leaves giant sinkholes in its place. This sandy sinkhole is near Ein Gedi Spa. The image was captured on September 10, 2008.
Just think: If this image is from 2008, how much more has the Dead Sea retreated since then? There might be dozens of sinkholes in this area.
Although it might seem neat they are actually free of water, they might resemble more like quick sand.
Did Someone Say Dead Sea?
Speaking of the Dead Sea, here is a phenomenal aerial view of more sinkholes within the same location of Kibbutz Ein Gedi. This picture was taken on November 10, 2011. You can clearly see the drying sea is leaving giant holes.
If you didn’t know any better, you might actually think it is a shot from Mars or even the Moon. Maybe we should start to pay attention to things like global warming, climate change, and so on.
More of them will most likely form overtime.
Three cars were swallowed up by a sinkhole on Chicago’s Southeast Side on April 18, 2013. One person was injured, but recovered. According to authorities, the injured man was driving when, like for many, the road suddenly caved in.
Another common mistake is driving into sinkholes after they form rapidly. However, the other two vehicles were simply parked in the wrong spot at the wrong time when the sinkhole quickly appeared out of nowhere.
Mother’s Strong Nature
If we were not discussing these amazing natural disasters (and sometimes man-made) known as sinkholes, this would be a pretty confusing picture. Even with the sinkhole concept, it makes more sense this would be a drunk driver causing the accident then the earth opening up.
Well, this time it happened in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Yes, like the actor/comedian. After a water main broke, the car was swallowed on December 3, 2010 right off of Friendship Boulevard.
Luckily, everyone was safe.
The capitol of Wisconsin received seven and a half inches of rain on July 23, 2010. After the city was soaked, a sinkhole opened up. As you already know, this only makes sense as the bedrock under the surface dissolved the layers.
Nevertheless, the crew workers peered eerily into the massive hole. It is clear to see dozens of men could easily fit into the sinkhole.
Good thing they weren’t at the scene when it first collapsed otherwise it could have been deadly.
Another Day In Minnesota
Flooding led to a residential evacuation for the Northeastern town of Duluth, Minnesota. Animals also fled from their pens and some even evacuated the zoo.
Once the storm passed, the residents came back to see the aftermath of their city. On June 20, 2011, a sinkhole developed in Duluth after the rain. A car was submerged in the massive hole and had to be recovered.
They certainly do not look scared of the rubble.
Summer Not-So Fun
Everyone flocks to Florida for some fun in the sun, right? Well, on August 12, 2013, the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, Florida was having anything but a good time. The structure was the victim of a huge sinkhole.
According to authorities, about 30 percent of the three-story structure collapsed during the disaster. However, that particular villa at the Summer Bay Resort had already been evacuated
so no injuries were reported as a result of the quake-like phenomenon.
An Unplanned Pool
This backyard looks a lot like the McKay’s, but this one is not filled with water. In fact, this sinkhole, which appeared in Windermere, Florida, grew to be a whopping 100 feet wide and 50 feet deep. That does not sound like a lot, but a two-story house is only around 20 feet high.
Since limestone is one of the most common materials to crumble under sinkholes, it makes Florida prone to dangerous eruption. The porous rock can easily dissolve in rain.
And that only covers the naturally-made sinkholes.
This sinkhole is definitely not a blue hole by the looks of it. This unusual sinkhole was photographed on September 29, 2016. The Mosaic Co. property is located in Mulberry, Florida. Sadly, it took weeks for the residents to be notified that their drinking water was being contaminated by fertilizer plant waste due to a sinkhole.
Residents had to undergo testing to see if they were exposed to chemical toxins.
It is just another reason why we should come up with cleaner methods and more eco-friendly ways.
All Filled Up
Here is an image of a sinkhole after it was filled back up with dirt. After a sinkhole stabilizes, the area will need, most likely, massive repairs. Depending on the weather, condition of the land, and several other factors, it can take weeks or even months to fix sinkhole damage.
This sinkhole opened up on July 14, 2017 in Land O’Lakes, Florida. By August 7, it had swallowed seven houses. At its widest point, the hole reached 260 feet wide.
Something had to be done about the hungry hole.
A Japanese Sinkhole
On November 8, 2016, the city of Fukuoka experienced an enormous sinkhole right in the middle of a major roadway. It measured an amazing 98 feet wide and another 50 feet deep.
What is even more surprising is that Japanese crews worked around the around the clock to repair the busy intersection for its residents.
It only took one week for the gaping hole to be filled in and the area completely repaired.
Can You Tell That’s China?
This picture might look a lot like the semi truck that was swallowed up in a Georgia sinkhole. However, this similar scene is in China, which just proves sinkholes do not discriminate. The hole appeared in Guilin on January 7, 2015.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt. Nevertheless, that truck is in bad shape. They probably had to use a crane to get the gigantic vehicle out.
After all, it weighs hundreds of thousands of pounds.
You probably won’t believe us, but this enormous sinkhole suddenly formed overnight. Workers in Beijing were suddenly faced with quite the situation on Shiliuzhuang Road on April 26, 2011. Some most likely wished they called in sick for work that day.
Sadly, authorities think the huge hole was the result of construction by a subway line. The car might be a lost cause, but happily the driver said he jumped out before the car went into the sinkhole.
He was only slightly injured.
Back In Beijing
Another view of the sinkhole on Shiliuzhuang Road, this picture really shows the massive damage. Some brave people stand on a ledge close to the deep hole. After the sinkhole stabilizes, it is not really a threat. However, it can still be terrifying to peer down into a sinkhole.
Can you imagine waking up and heading to work or school as normal only to slam your brakes at a sinkhole?
It is hard to conceptualize such a giant hole forming all the while you were sleeping on a random Tuesday.
Apparently China Is No Stranger To Sinkholes
Just a few years after the Shiliuzhuang Road in Beijing came south China’s Guangdong province sinkhole. Surprisingly, nobody was killed by the sinkhole, which measure 1,000 square feet wide by 30 feet deep.
The site was cleaned and the hole was repaired in 2013. The site almost looks like the work of an earthquake. However, Mother Nature always has tricks up her sleeve.
We are just glad nobody died because of this scary sinkhole.
San Diego Sinkhole
Where were you on October 3, 2007? If you were in San Diego, California, you might remember when this massive landslide tore up Soledad Mountain Road. It resulted in a giant sinkhole measuring 200 by 240 feet.
Mother Nature took part in damaging or completely destroying six houses. At least 20 residents had to be evacuated during the disaster.
Although not a true sinkhole perhaps, it is still an amazing site that was caused by water overflowing where it doesn’t below.
I Heart LA
Fast forward two years from the San Diego sinkhole and LA had a similar problem. However, in this case, a heavy (we’re talking 22 tons) Los Angeles Fire Department fire truck fell into a sinkhole on September 8, 2009. It all happened in the Valley Village neighborhood.
Apparently the firefighters were investigating the flooding of a residential street that morning. The driver was backing up when it encountered a large amount of water and fell into the sinkhole, which was caused by a ruptured cast iron pipe.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
Another sinkhole developed in California on December 10, 2016. However, this one was in Northern California. Although the cliffs are breathtaking, they can be dangerous, especially when a 15-foot section drops away into the ocean.
The entire trail is restricted. Only crew members can access it to pump concrete into the sinkhole.
Sadly, this Cliffside has been falling into the water for decades and this is a last-effort resort to save the land.
The Last Sinkhole
Sinkholes continue to appear in California and around the world. In February 2017, a storm hit So Cal and caused this overwhelming 20-foot-deep sinkhole. You can’t tell by the picture, but it took two vehicles down with it.
You can see the area was safely marked off so it could be repaired. Crew members must work on sinkholes like this one almost immediately when they are in large areas. However, they must wait until the sinkhole stabilizes first.