source: Podcast in English
A 10 sinkhole incidents were reported in the UK.
B a man was swallowed in Florida in February.
C a man was swallowed while he was in his own house.
1 In one of the pictures they talk about
A a man saw a house disappear on his way back home.
B a man was unable to open a door in his own house.
C a woman noticed her garden had disappeared when she opened the window.
2 The soil collapses into the hole because
A of heavy rains.
B the hole is too big.
C the soil is too heavy.
3 The water makes holes in the limestone rock
A a long way from the surface.
B by erosion.
4 The building complex in China collapsed because
A a tunnel had been made.
B of a naturally formed sinkhole.
C there were no foundations.
5 In the UK the sinkholes were caused by
A construction work.
B excess rain.
C no known reason.
6 The sinkholes are next to the houses in the UK because
A of luck.
B the quality of the houses is better.
C the soil under the houses doesn’t get wet.
7 The woman is worried because
A of the soil in the area where they live.
B there are holes in the area where they live.
C they live in a cave.
Last year a man was sleeping in his bed when the ground opened up and swallowed him and his bed and he was never seen again. Now the man lived in Florida where sinkholes are relatively common but in February of this year more than ten were reported in the UK. And frightening pictures there were, Richard, weren't there?
There were many pictures. I remember, I think there was one lady, woke up one morning, opened her window, and her car had disappeared and there was a huge hole outside her house. Awful.
Horrible, yes. Then there was the man who... he came home after being out with his wife and he couldn't open the back door. It seemed a bit strange and he looked up and he saw a crack and as he was looking the crack got bigger and bigger and the house was just falling apart in front of him. Very frightening.
So how are sinkholes actually caused then, Richard?
I think they're mainly in limestone areas for a start and limestone gets dissolved by water. So the water goes though the ground and forms a big hole underground, and then, when there's a weight on top of the soil, the soil collapses and then all of a sudden there's a huge hole in the ground.
Why does the water make the hole in the ground?
Because the water is acidic and it dissolves the limestone, the rock.
So you're talking about rainwater here?
And this can take a long time?
It can take thousands of years. Because we know lots of places have caves, don't they, underground and they're perfectly safe. It's just that when they form quite close to the surface of the ground, that's when there's a danger.
But the holes themselves can also be man-made, can't they?
Yes. Actually one huge sinkhole occurred recently in China. An entire building complex collapsed and that was because... well, it may have... may have been because... of the construction of an underground metro line nearby.
Okay. So you've got this big hole and you're saying that after a while the soil collapses into the hole, right?
Yeah, well the hole's underground, you can't see it.
And then what happened in England, the holes were there, all this rain they've been having, got soaked up by the soil, and of course it made it very, very, very heavy. The weight of that soil crashed through these holes and that's what formed the sinkhole.
So basically you need the hole and you need a lot of water then?
Why is it then that when you see all those horrible pictures of the sinkholes in the UK, they're often by people's homes, whereas that man in Florida, it was his house that went down the hole. Why is that?
That's interesting because the water runs off the roof of the house, in Britain, and so that water goes down into the garden for instance, so it's that soil that's very heavy and sodden with water, not the actual soil underneath the house.
Well, I don't know why, for me there is something just horrific about falling down one of these sinkholes and I think I'm a little bit concerned because we live in a fairly chalky, limestony area, don't we?
Yes. There's lots of caves round here that's for sure.
And it rains a lot.
And what a horrible way to go! That man in Florida, he just disappeared forever.
1B 2C 3B 4A 5B 6C 7A