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Siberian Sinkhole Growing Wider and Deeper Every Day

Will the world end by getting sucked down a black hole in Siberia? We’re a long way from that but getting closer every day, according to people living … or formerly living … near a sinkhole in Solikamsk, Russia, that has quadrupled in width in just nine months with no sign of stopping, closing up or taking a break to belch. Where is Solikamsk disappearing to?

The sinkhole in Solikamsk when it first opened on November 2014

The sinkhole in Solikamsk when it first opened on November 2014

On November 18, 2014, Uralkali – the largest potash fertilizer producer in Russia – evacuated thousands of workers from its Solikamsk-2 mine in Solikamsk, a seasonal cottage community about 1,000 miles northeast of Moscow that is built entirely over the Solikamsk-2 and Solikamsk-1 potash mines. Flooding caused a sinkhole to open near the mine measuring about 30 meters (100 feet) across. No one was injured but local residents were nervous as the company told workers to stay away until things settled down.

Which they haven’t. The flooding continued and by February 2015, the sinkhole had grown to 87 meters (285 feet) across and 75 meters (250 feet) deep and was swallowing cottage homes like a hungry kid eating gingerbread houses. The company said the mine was “stable” but mining operations stayed halted while crews continued to pump brine out from one side to fill up the other, shore up walls and salvage equipment.

The Solikamsk sinkhole continues to eat homes at an alarming rate

The Solikamsk sinkhole continues to eat homes at an alarming rate

That didn’t help. By August 24, 2015, the sinkhole had become a gaping chasm measuring 125 meters across and filling steadily with abandoned cottages. Nothing new has been done so it’s expected that the sinkhole will continue to grow.

It’s estimated that the mines still contain 150 million tons of potash, making it one of the largest reserves in the world. It’s a safe bet that Solikamsk-2 will have to eat a lot more of Siberia before Uralkali abandons the mine and all of that potential fertilizer.

What good will all of that fertilizer do if the sinkhole swallows everyone who would have eaten the food?

Goodbye Solikamsk. goodbye SIberia, goodbye ...?

Goodbye Solikamsk. goodbye Siberia, goodbye …?

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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