What is a sinkhole and how do they happen as one appears in Coronation Street?

In tonight’s hour-long episode, the residents of Coronation Street get a nasty surprise when a sinkhole appears on the street.

David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), Shona Ramsey (Julia Goulding), Nina Lucas (Mollie Gallagher) and Sarah Platt (Tina O’Brien) all meet in the Platts’ back garden for a BBQ, but there is a mighty crash and a huge hole appears in their back garden.

But what are sinkholes, and how do they appear?

What is a sinkhole and how are they formed?

A sinkhole (also known as a cenote, a swallow hole, or a doline) is any hole in the ground caused by erosion and the drainage of water.

Some sink holes can be large enough to swallow whole buildings.

There are two types of sink holes. One is created over a period of time, the other occurs very suddenly.

Sinkholes are usually found in areas of land where soluble bedrock (such as limestone or gypsum) can be dissolved by water. Eventually, this bedrock is worn down and a hole (or holes) slowly appear on the surface of the ground.

The same process occurs with the faster sinkholes, however, the hole is tucked under a layer of soil or other sediments. Finally, this cover of soil gives way and falls, revealing a nasty cavern.

Human activity can create sinkholes, too. For example, they can be caused by broken sewer and drain pipes, broken septic tanks, improperly compacted soil after excavation work, and buried rubbish or other debris.

Sink holes can be deadly, especially the fast ones. In the blink of an eye, a whole bus or house could fall inside.

The type of sink hole seen on Corrie would be the latter, faster kind (also known as a cover-collapse sinkhole). It appears very suddenly in the Platt’s back garden, and appears very deep.

Coronation Street continues Friday, September 11, at 7.30pm on ITV.

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