December 18th, 2005


Welcome to North Central Baja Jorja

Which exists on a geological foundation known as a Karst Formation. What this means is there's a lot of limestone under that sand; limestone means caves. Caves mean portions which come close to the surface, and those mean... sinkholes.

Over the 18 years we've lived here, there are several sinkholes which we've noted. Two were out in one of the goat paddocks, and both have eroded in and closed themselves off. One opened in the same paddock, but was more of a chimney to a subterranian creek; that one is fenced off so the livestock don't get too close. There are two others in the 20 acre east pasture area, and those were both marked with PVC tubing; in both places, there's now a PVC staff sticking out of the ground as those spots also proceeded to fill themselves in.

We've got a sinkhole in what we call the "parking lot." Something between 10 - 12 years ago, Ruthie called me at work one day: "Was there a hole in the parking lot when you left this morning?"

Me: No, why, is there one now?

R: Yes, right where the van was parked.

I'd not felt it, so it hadn't opened up when I drove away. Probably not long after that, though, and possibly because of me driving away. It was around a meter and a half in diameter (5 feet or so), and only a few feet deep. We marked it off with a saw-horse fence so people wouldn't drive into it. It's near a low spot in that area of the property, and water runs there during big storms. Like last night; with heavy rain like last night a small, shallow pool often forms there, even with the depression that the original hole became as the edges eroded in and we added limerock stones and other organics to help fill and stablalize. Seeing a pool that covers a 5 meter/15 foot diameter, with that hole inside it, means a lot of standing water, and I drove wide going around it when we pulled out last night to go visit friends.

This morning, it is definitely at, no it is the low spot, and enlarged to about 10 by 6 feet (3 by 2 meters) and nearly two meters deep. I can see one of the several saw horses that used to make the fence. Ruthann asked if I was going to go after it, and I replied most emphatically, "No." So whatever chimney or cavern is under that zone collapsed some more from the weight of sodden earth on top of it. So now we've got to mark off a larger zone with fencing, and possibly look to re-routing our drive road away from that as much as possible.

It's nowhere near any any of the houses; the nearest structure is a storage shed and it's 60-70 feet away.

We are not bored.

More Joy of Living With Karst Formations

Let's see, what did I leave off from this weekend summary?

Oh, yeah, the credit for the discovery of the enlarged sinkhole goes to Skippy of fatfred fame; she stopped by on her way out and home from the Solstice Party (Yes, We Know the Solstice isn't for a week or so yet...) so I could measure her iPod for myself and she could express druthers on which piece of koa to use. I'm not sure I'd have parked quite as close to the hole in the ground as she did, but then again, the hole hasn't gotten bigger so far.

At any rate, after our visit and Skippy hit the road, we did a closer examination (detailed earlier) of the hole, and decided we needed to move the Big Blue Chevy Van Formerly Known As RyuuMaru. I say formerly known as because it's not exactly a functional van anymore, but was known as Ryuu Maru when it was. It's no longer totally blue either; rather faded from the sun and with a significant amount of rust showing. Why, yes, the directions to my house do include "Turn off the paved road and onto the dirt road." Why do you ask?

We are planning on donating the van to either the Williston High School Automotive Shop Class, or to the Florida Sheriff's Boys Ranch in the very near future as a tax write-off, so after a brief discussion as to the feasability of rolling the thing over sideways to fill the sinkhole, we hooked up a tow strap to it, and towed it away from the hole to a location much friendlier to tow trucks. Whoever we donate this thing too, they'll need that tow truck to take it home with them.

After that, we put up a temporary fence using white plastic chain and t-bar posts, in case any other friends came by and drove into the hole in the ground. We decided that the big blue/brown object being located in a different place probably wouldn't be of sufficient alert value to gaurantee the Clue Bus being Caught. One or the other of us will be checking into some of that bright orange fencing you may see around construction sites; we want that to hike up the Clue Bus Factor, as well as to discourage the Four Kittens of teh Apocalypse, or their elder brother Ras Mewson, or Mary Kitty from investigating.

Mamma Mudge has, so far, shown no great inclination to check out what's down that big hole. Now, that might be because she's still wondering why SWMBO thinks she (Mamma Mudge) dug such a big hole out there. She's got good reason to wonder that, as SWMBO kept asking her why she did that all day. Mamma Mudge did enjoy her ride in the PickUp Truck, and thought it pretty cool that the Big Blue/Brown thing followed us. Once it stopped moving, though, she lost interest.