An enormous crack has emerged in the Northern Cape along the R31 road between Daniëlskuil and Kuruman in South Africa. The sinkhole, which has the appearance of a huge crack in the ground is already more than a hundred meters long and, according to residents, it is growing by the minute. The sinkhole, which emerged between a major road and farmland has already caused a great deal of inconvenience to local people as the road between the towns has had to be closed down amid serious safety concerns.
South Africa has been beset by problems with sinkholes for at least fifty years, but the frequency of the terrifying natural phenomenon has been increasing in recent years with almost three thousand incidents being reported in the past twelve months.
Sinkholes tend to form in settlements which have been built on a type of sedimentary rock called dolomite. Dolomite is a particularly soluble form of rock which easily transforms into a liquid state when it is exposed to water and weakly acidic solutions. In areas where dolomite is especially prevalent rainwater or even a leaking water pipe can be the trigger for the emergence of an enormous sinkhole. South Africa’s natural predisposition to sinkhole breakouts has been exacerbated by gold mining in the region, which has ensured a heavy saturation of water at the subterranean level, and poorly managed infrastructure.
Indeed, despite the major problems caused by the local South African economy by this kind of sinkhole, municipal authorities are rarely furnished with either contingency plans to deal with the disaster or the resources required to contain the damage quickly. In recent years, thousands of people in the African country have been left without access to water, hygienic waste disposal services and various basic public services because of the immense disruption caused by sinkholes.