New Zealand's largest sinkhole opened on its North Island measuring 656 feet in length and 66 feet in depth – for those trying to visualize the measurements – that's almost two soccer fields long and a six-story building deep.
The sinkhole opened overnight last week, about 15 kilometers southeast of the city of Rotorua, in a region called Earthquake Flat.
"It's quite spectacular, it's much bigger than the ones I'd normally see, the biggest I've ever seen is about one-third the size, so that's really big," volcanologist Brad Scott said from Kiwi geoscientist GNS Science, reported Science Alert.
The depth and extent of the dolin was not the only reason why scientists flocked to the site to examine it more closely.
"What I see at the bottom of this hole is the original 60,000-year-old volcano deposit that came out of this crater," said Scott. "Then there is a stack of about 1
But, there is no reason to worry as the volcano in question is a dormant volcano.
The sinkhole may have been shown recently, but it took over 100 years. According to scientists, heavy rains have been slowly eroding the subterranean limestone reserve in the area for centuries. Finally, a strong rainy period in the region in late April – nearly 170 millimeters of rain in 38 hours – that lasted about a week caused the surface to collapse, forming a ravine.
The scientists are still exploring the gullet to understand the gradual buildup and stratification of rocks, sediments, and soils over decades and even centuries.
The sinkhole was first discovered by a New Zealand farm assistant, whose stature did not recognize the lack of light at dawn. Gabriel Lafalla rolled up the cows to milk them early in the morning when he barely missed riding his bike into the deep gorge.
"I could have died," said Science Alert. "I touched myself [the sign of the cross] and said to myself, 'I'm alive.'"
Colin Tremain, a farm manager near the Great Rift, said, "It was not until I came down in the daylight that I actually saw how big it was. We'll keep it fenced to keep stock, though stocks are not stupid they are not going to go into a hole, they can see dangers. " Tremain added that while sinkholes were quite common in the area, a dagger of that size was unknown. Besides, he did not think he could do much to prevent him from eating away the land. "I'll lay a fence around it and forget it, a waste of time," said Phys.org.