Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yikes! PBS & "NOVA" Take on Sinkholes -- Our Money is on the Sinkholes!

Inquiring minds obsessed with land, sea and air craziness will want to tune in tonight to the always fascinating PBS series NOVA for the newest episode entitled "Sinkholes -- Buried Alive".  Yowzah!  It doesn't get much better for creepy unexpected chills than contemplating sinkholes, those real-life utterly scary out-of-the-blue earth collapses that are known to swallow up roads, houses, vehicles and people -- and it's a one-way journey.  You can fall in but mostly you don't get a chance to get out, , one of the reasons why sinkholes are so awesomely weird.  And sometimes hilariously funny, as we saw in 2013's movie This Is The End where one of the signs of the end of the world was a giant sinkhole appearing in James Franco's front yard (see below) and engulfing various celebrities including Michael Cera.  One of their explanations was the "Sinkhole de Mayo" phenomenon, but sinkholes actually appear anywere, anytime.

I'm a long-time fan and follower of sinkholes, especially so now that I live in Florida where they are a common geological feature, popping, down all over the state making disappear citizens, trees, lakes and tourist resorts on a regular basis.  Floridians might like to check out the whole collection of Florida Sinkhole Maps, available by clicking here.

When I lived in Atlanta and worked at Turner in midtown there was a famous 1993 sinkhole that opened up just behind a hotel next to us, sadly killing two people who worked there.  Perhaps more properly designated an earth collapse than a true sinkhole, it was precipitated by a huge rainfall which undermined the infrastructure.  Read a couple of accounts of it -- click here and click here, and click here to see a photo of it.

Bottom line is sinkholes can happen just about anywhere, not caring whether your neighborhood is tony or redneck, sinkholes will take 'em all down...which at least is one sign that democracy is still alive in America.

Tonight's NOVA episode promises to be terrific, as are all their episodes no matter what the topic. NOVA has been doing for decades what cable channels Science, Discovery and History seem to get all the credit for these days. (At least National Geographic has been in the documentary business a long time.  TV aficionados deep down know -- even if the general public doesn't -- that PBS essentially invented all the various program genres that now occupy myriad separate channels -- cooking, science, reality, exercise -- right?)

Here's a preview of tonight's program:

Check out the website for NOVA and "Sinkholes -- Buried Alive" by clicking here.  There's an interview with the filmmaker from The New Orleans Advocate which gives background on the episode's production.  New Orleans was justifiably proud of being included in the program because of their famous Bayou Corne sinkhole from a couple of years ago; click here to access.

For further investigation into the sinkhole subject, I can recommend some terrific websites and photo galleries.  The Weather Channel had a good episode of their recent Science of the Earth series all about sinkholes, unfortunately not available that I can find except for a transcript -- click here -- and their promo for it:

There's an entire documentary about a astounding Chinese sinkhole on YouTube; I recommend watching it there because there's a nice write-up about it.  Click here to access.

The slightly crazy website Countdown to Zero-Time has a good sinkhole posting, click here.

The Telegraph in the UK has this nice photo gallery of sinkholes, click here.

The People and Places blog has a really good assortment of photos, click here.

Assortment of photos on the ABC News site available by clicking here.

Wikipedia covers sinkholes -- click here for its good overview.

Absolutely the best repository of sinkhole-related photos and information is created by Ben Wilkins.  Highly recommended for all your sinkhole needs and available by clicking here.

For all about the science behind sinkholes, we recommend the USGS website which has a "The Science of Sinkholes" page available by clicking here and a good basic educational page online, click here.

Don't miss NOVA "Sinkholes -- Buried Alive" tonight on at 9pm your local PBS station!

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