Sinkholes seem to come from nowhere. These are potentially huge holes that appear in the ground, swallowing up anything above it, such as houses or cars. In Britain, it’s a particular problem. Tom Backhouse, a geologist and something of an expert on the subject, says that uniquely, the British Isles has over 60 different types of mineral, including flint, tin and coal, and we have carelessly built on top of many of these old mines with scant regard for the danger. In fact, we have 170,000 ex-coal mines shafts and 400,000 non-coal mine shafts. Let’s hope our houses are not built on any. Mine is a Victorian house, so I’d like to think that any sinking would have happened by now if it was going to. Still, others have lost their homes, gardens, drives and garages as sinkholes have swallowed them up, sometimes in one night.

Some particularly terrifying sinkholes exist elsewhere in the world. The ‘Door to Hell’ was created Turkmenistan in 1971 by geologists digging for oil. Officially called the Darvaza gas crater, the hole links to a huge underground cavern full of gas. These poisonous gases were released which they set alight in order to discharge them; they are still burning and the sinkhole still exists.

Bayou Corne sinkhole in Louisiana was created from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern operated by Texas Brine Company. In May 2012, the small lake there began bubbling like a cauldron. On 3rd August that year, a huge sinkhole appeared, swallowing thousands of tons earth and hundreds of trees. It is currently as big as two football pitches and gets wider each week, swallowing trees daily. 75 ft trunks are being dragged thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface into a vast cavern collapsing in on itself. It’s like a giant bath without a plug. The locals, who have been evacuated from their homes since 2014, are suing the mining company.  

In Numbers 16:32, God employs a sinkhole to judge those who partook in Korah’s rebellion:

And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

The earth is still in the business of swallowing men and goods.