NOVA: Sinkholes - Buried Alive

NOVA: Sinkholes - Buried Alive

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 9:00pm

Credit: Courtesy of DANIEL LECLAIR/Reuters/Corbis

Investigate what it’s like to have your world vanish beneath your feet.

Sinkholes are a growing worldwide hazard that lurks wherever limestone and other water-soluble rocks underpin the soil. When carbon dioxide in the air dissolves in rainwater, it forms a weak acid that attacks the soft rocks, riddling them with holes like Swiss cheese. Sinkholes can occur gradually when the surface subsides into bowl-shaped depressions or suddenly, when the ground gives way — often catastrophically.

Sinkholes have swallowed highways, apartment buildings, horses, camels, even golfers, with monster-size holes cracking the earth from Siberia to Louisiana. With compelling eyewitness video of dramatic collapses, and following scientists as they explore the underlying forces behind these natural disasters, NOVA travels the globe to investigate what it’s like to have your world vanish beneath your feet. NOVA: Sinkholes - Buried Alive airs Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.