Posts Tagged ‘sinkholes in Canada’

This weekend Jeff and I descend to the bottom of a cold and dripping sinkhole in Ontario, Canada. It would appear that most are unaware of the existence of these pits, thinking that they only occur in Florida and other places where there have been some well publicized swallowings of people and posessions. Sinkholes occur for several reasons, but in stable rock they develop slowly and predictably over thousands of years and it is only the careless who end up lying broken and dying at their bottom.

In Toronto, it is most likely an underground pipe that has broken and eroded the lake deposited sediment beneath the city streets that would pose a sinkhole hazard. On rare occasions there have been collapse windows that have unexpectedly appeared in farmer’s fields, and of course there have been the celebrated cave-ins around mining communities like Cobalt and Kirkland Lake that have resulted in the loss of buildings. I believe it was in Timmins that a school bus was swallowed up one night with a sleeping beggar who had sheltered there, little suspecting that he would wake up entombed within the earth.

See the Documentary video on the sinkhole that we had explored this weekend – a Deep Mysterious Pit in Ontario Canada – here.

I spend my weekends caving and it appears that for the scarcity of horizontal cave openings near Toronto, it is now the vertical shafts that we are breaking open in hopes of exposing buried tunnels. Pictured here is one such shaft that sinks deep into virgin rock.

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IMGP2229, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

It is a well known fact that 90-95% of Ontario’s caves are within 100 feet of a road. As of late we have taken to exploration in dense tracts of forest over a karst terrain that has been long suspected to harbor the best caving possibilities in Ontario.

As a rough guide we have been using an old manuscript that was produced by Martin Davis, he had already visited the area andf for the most part his initial reconnaisance has been invaluable to our success in finding, or re-finding significant karst features. we believe this shaft was first marked on one of Martin’s maps and in looking down it appears to exceed the depth of the abyssthat we found last month and also several other cave shaft features that we had recently happened upon. Most exciting about this shaft is the belling out of the bottom reaches so that we cannot see the bottom of the wall beneath where Jeff is standing – in fact we are believing that it could be a tunnel as a surface joint also leads in that direction. We are intending to descend the pit this coming weekend and answer the question as to whether there is going cave tunnel at the bottom.

Check out this video of the cave shaft and also another feature that we are calling the void – cave shaft video here.

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possible cave bearing sinkhole, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

It seems that the cave geography repeats itself. To a farmer it is a curse but to me this sinkhole is very much like the Blue Barrel Sink and as you might already be aware, there is cave tunnel beneath Blue Barrel sink. and again, just like blue Barrel sink there is the surface depression that connects to the nearest sinkhole in the patch of trees in the distance.

Ontario’s karst geography is screaming “CAVE” and so few can hear the noise. Put your ear down in the bottom of this sink at springtime, when the snow is melting and if you can hear the same roar that JC and I heard from the river beneath Blue Barrel, well then you know to dig and you’ll open up a cave. This whole are is pocked with sinkholes, but most are taking surface streams.

This steep sided cone-shaped sinkhole seems indicative of soil being eroded from beneath. If you are searching for caves in Ontario, this is a very good indicator that there is a tunnel below. I think that those larger tear drop sinks that take small streams are seldom home to larger tunnels, but where the tunnels all meet up underground in a single trunk passage, that is the real prize. Without apparent surface flow, these dimples in the field are likely to be your most profitable use of time – they are eating soil because there is water flowing beneath.

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