Monday, March 4, 2013

What the Hell is a Sinkhole? And Did I Really Need Something Else to Fear?

Normally, reading the news makes me pretty terrified by the thought of leaving my home, but now, I realized I'm not even safe in my home. The earth below could at any moment open up and just suck me in.
Over the weekend my mind was preoccupied with the 37 year-old Tampa-area Florida man, Jeff Bush, who was killed laying in bed when he and his whole bedroom were sucked into a 20x20 foot sink hole. Absolutely horrifying.
And it all also immediately brought back my childhood nightmares and mental anguish from this scene from "The Neverending Story."

But what the hell is a sinkhole? According to Huffington Post, these disasters that seem like something out of a horror movie, are, in fact, "unexpected killers across the world." Sinkholes can form gradually or suddenly. They form in areas where water flowing underground has dissolved the rock-typically limestone -- below the surface, leading to the formation of underground voids into which the surface sediment falls. They are also believed to be caused by loose soil, acidic groundwater, new construction, leaky water pipes, coal mines, fracking, and long periods of drought followed by rain.

Sinkholes are apparently common in Florida, and several other states including Pennsylvania, Texas, and Kentucky. And it is reported that China is the worst place in the world to be if you are afraid of ending up in the bottom of a pit, as they have had a great influx of the occurrence of sinkholes, with 20 opening up since last September alone. Even though my area seems to not have them, I still can't get past the image of Times Square vanishing and becoming a giant pot hole.

While there is no technical term for the fear of being spontaneously swallowed into the earth, I have used my knowledge of Latin and coined "Terrasubsidophobia" for the fear that I know I am not alone in now suffering from.
But since it's not healthy to live in fear, I'm working on keeping my mind focused on internet images like this one:
 A rescued baby koala in a disney mug being bottle fed.

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