Segments in this Video

Introduction: Sinkholes - Buried Alive (01:57)


Sinkholes can appear suddenly, cause significant destruction, and become graves. They occur around the world, in every type of terrain.

Seffner, Florida (03:14)

In February 2013, a sinkhole suddenly opens under a home that had stood on the property for three decades. Jeremy and Rachel Bush, and Janell Wheeler recall the event that took Jeff Bush's life. Authorities demolish the home and two neighboring houses.

Ground Collapse (05:21)

Florida's geological history and features make it particularly vulnerable to sinkholes; fatalities are rare. In 1981, a sinkhole the size of two square blocks occurs in Winter Park. G. H. "Harley" Means examines a quarry near Tallahassee. Experts discuss geology and sinkhole formation.

Limestone and Cave Diving (03:20)

Many regions around the world are vulnerable to sinkholes and are often characterized by caves. Divers explore a cave system near Gainesville, Florida; caves can create a sinkhole threat. The land around lakes in Florida is prone to collapse.

Sinkhole Formation (04:28)

Warning signs often indicate that the ground is shifting but sinkholes can suddenly appear. Over saturation and over pumping aquifers can cause ground collapse. Ming Ye and his team create a sandbox model to test the tipping point.

Spring Hill, Florida (01:58)

Richard and Betty Theodore unknowingly purchase a home in "Sinkhole Alley" and learn there is a sinkhole beneath their home. Former Senator Mike Fasano advocates for sinkhole victims.

Calatayud, Spain (02:31)

Sinkholes plague the city founded in the 8th century; most of the buildings are constructed atop gypsum. Engineers work to save a leaning church tower.

Puilatos, Spain (04:25)

Sinkholes condemn the town built for farmers and their families in the 1950s. Salt comprises most of the mineral deposits below ground. A water-filled sinkhole near the town threatens a major highway. A team assesses its affect using ground penetrating radar.

Sinkholes and Infrastructure (02:14)

A sinkhole appears beneath the tracks of a high speed train. Human activities can trigger or accelerate sinkhole development. Approximately 20% of Earth's surface contains karst terrain.

Bayou Corne, Louisiana (08:44)

Pipelines transport gas, oil, and brine through the bayou. Dennis Landry recalls unusual bubbling near a pipeline. More bubbles appear throughout the area, earthquakes occur, and a sinkhole appears; brining is the cause of ground collapse.

Bayou Corne Sinkhole Aftermath (04:50)

Rising waters overwhelm a berm, gas shoots out vent wells, and seismic activity occurs. John Boudreaux films trees sinking into the swamp. Some residents remain in the bayou, but many sellout to Texas Brine. Louisiana considers new brining regulations.

Protection Against Sinkhole Consequences (04:16)

Jimmy and Dee Etta Ferraro have confirmed sinkhole activity on their property. Their insurance company wants to use grout to stabilize and strengthen the soil; the Ferraros want steel pinning. Geotechnical engineers analyze the situation and locate three potential sinkholes.

Cave System Mapping (04:41)

A dive team sets-up transponders in the Alachua cave system while Jacki Clark tries to detect signals from the surface; the system extends beneath a commercial retail store. Many Floridians worry about safety. Experts question development in dangerous areas and government protection.

Credits: Sinkholes - Buried Alive (00:57)

Credits: Sinkholes - Buried Alive

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Sinkholes - Buried Alive

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Sinkholes have swallowed highways, apartment buildings, horses, and even golfers with monster-size holes cracking the earth from Siberia to Louisiana. Filled with compelling eyewitness video of dramatic collapses, and following scientists as they explore the underlying forces behind these natural disasters, NOVA investigates what it's like to have your world vanish beneath your feet.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: FMK215298

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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