Sometimes, when we’re mad at someone, we often wish that the land beneath that person would open up and swallow them. However, in real life, that sort of situation would be horrifying. But guess what, it happens, and it’s known as a sinkhole. And many people in the past have experienced this dreadful incident too many times.
Are you one of them?
There are two ways sinkholes can appear. One is natural, which is caused by erosion or underground water. It is where the high water pressure erodes the rocks and minerals layers in the ground, and because of that, the land collapses immediately. This causes a deep depression on the surface.
The second cause of sinkholes is related to humans. Human-caused sinkholes come about as a result of construction, mining, drilling, and broken drain pipes. At times, even heavy traffic can cause minor or major sinkholes.
These sinkholes have disturbed many infrastructures over the years, and sadly, it looks like the White House is the recent victim.
According to a news report, a sinkhole appeared in the White House lawn on 22nd May 2018 and later the area was covered by pylons and police tape. And many individuals are still confused about how the same kind of sinkhole appeared in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club on the same date last year. While sinkholes are a natural-enough phenomenon, the presence of one on the White House lawn remains concerning.
Steve Herman, a news reporter from the Voice of America, was the first one who noticed this sinkhole when it appeared near the press office and immediately tweeted about it, warning that it was growing “by the day.”
And in one of his interviews with Quartz, he mentioned that the sinkhole seemed bigger on Monday and the worst part was that a second sinkhole appeared right next to the first one, which is very surprising. The diameter of the sinkhole is increasing with time and this can cost the White House a fortune.
On the other hand, the ground-keepers believe that the sinkhole they reported was comparatively smaller than what the diameter of the cones that stands around sinkhole measures. They also reported that it had appeared right outside the office of White House deputy press secretary, Hogan Gidley.
National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for monitoring the ground at the White House, and while reporting to USA Today, they mentioned that they’re planning to take experts onboard to find the real cause of this sinkhole and address this situation in the best way.
According to the NPS spokesperson, sinkholes, similar to this one, have occurred in Washington due to heavy rain that DC metro area has been experiencing for two weeks. Moreover, keep in mind that one of NPS member in her email to a leading magazine wrote that this sinkhole is harmless and poses no risks to the White House and its members. The problem is not hazardous. This is reassuring to hear.
But let’s keep this NPS assurance reports aside and look at the public response to this sinkhole that suddenly drained a certain part of the lawn in the White House. People are alarmed by this situation.
Lastly, when the experts gave their verdict it was a little perplexing. They said that depending on the size of the sinkhole, it could be dangerous.
Possible Sinkhole Causes
1 – Heavy Rain
“Karst terrain” is said to be the most common cause of sinkholes in most areas. It is a situation where the rocks under the land, such as gypsum, salt beds and limestone, are easily dissolved by a splash of the groundwater. Similarly, rainfall causes these rocks to dissolve, and the excess water is held in open space until there isn’t sufficient support for the land to stay in one piece. Keep in mind that this dissolvent nature causes the land to collapse all of a sudden; it could be major or minor depending on the situation.
Moreover, global warming has caused some states to suffer from rainy/damp weather, which has increased the risk of the formation of sinkholes in these states, which is expected. Reports recall some of these sinkholes have even consumed whole neighborhoods.
So, in Washington, DC, 15 centimeters (or 6 inches) of rainfall was recorded and the rain continued for eight consecutive days. Plus, 5 centimeters (2 inches) of rain was recorded throughout May 2018 in the area.
These rain stats clearly show how Washington suffered from above average rainfall that month, which provides a good reason for the appearance of the sinkhole.
Lastly, Jim Acosta also tweeted that perhaps due to the swampy weather in DC lately, there is a sinkhole in the north lawn of the White House.
2 – Old Water Line
The White House was renovated way back in 1801. Since then only minor changes and repairs have been made to the structure. And this brings us to the other possible cause of sinkhole in the White House, i.e., use of old and rusted water pipelines, which may have caused the water leak in the lawn.
But the investigation is still in process and we have to wait until it reaches a conclusion.
#Drain the Swamp
The phrase “drain the swamp” has a political meaning behind it. Did you know that? The phrase originally received attention when it was used as a slogan to remove water from all marshy regions in the area. That resulted in the removal of mosquitoes, alligators, and all other creatures that tend to survive on water.
Politicians have used this phrase as a metaphor which means to “eradicate corruption.” And as we all know Washington DC is built on swampland; so, when the White House had a sinkhole, and the president used the words “drain the swamp” in 2016, it was taken literally by several individuals.
Even the groundskeepers at the White House when addressing the media about the size of the sinkhole at the north lawn mentioned the sinkhole is big enough to “drain the swamp.”
Spare the ground keepers thought for a second and visit the tweeter’s audience going crazy all over Trump’s 2016 campaign to “drain the swamp.” And people started making comparisons, which is expected.
One of the leading personalities gave the answer to a very common and frequently asked question. He wrote, “God was asked whether he would stop the sinkhole from swallowing the Whitehouse?” to which he responded, “The Trump family is in my thoughts and prayers.”
Surprisingly, the sinkhole became the talk of Twitter to the extent that someone created a whole personalized account with the name “White House Sinkhole.”
Some people also posted hilarious tweets alluding that Hillary Clinton might have created this sinkhole so she can create a tunnel to the office after she lost to Donald Trump in the election, which is amusing.
Others said that Trump had mentioned about “draining the swamp” but it looked like nature was playing its role well by creating a wide opening in the north lawn of the White House itself.
Witty Public Tweets and Responses
First, let’s talk about some hilarious tweets that went somewhat viral on Twitter as a result of this sinkhole:
- Alex Mallin Tweeted, “A board has been placed over the sinkhole at the White House. I guess you could call it a *deep* State-Cover-up.”
- Weeks ago an 11-year old boy Frank, mowed the lawn of the White House where Donald Trump was seen praising him for his brilliant job. Soon after this sinkhole drained the north side of the lawn, a Tweet was made by Adam Mincks. He posted a picture of that little boy working on the lawn with Donald Trump’s mouth wide open which seemed like he was screaming at the boy asking him “DID YOU CREATE THAT SINKHOLE?”
- A magazine writer, Jessica Roy, tweeted about the sinkhole calling it as a “resistance icon.”
- Some people were concerned about the related metaphors, so Sullivka came to the rescue and tweeted all the possible metaphors for the White House sinkhole as “the biggest and best sinkhole. A beautiful sinkhole.”
- One of the Tweets got the most retweets. It said, “All I’m saying, Satan wasn’t trying to swallow in the whole White House when Barrack Obama was the president.” And the other was similar to this and said, “Satan is finally back to his most loyal servant.”
- One girl questioned, “If a sinkhole opening in the north lawn of the White House is not a poetic irony, then I don’t know what is?”
- One Twitter user claimed that the sinkhole is a “Melania escape tunnel.”
- One user even compared Trump’s presidency with the appearance of the sinkhole, and said “at least something besides our government is bringing joy and humor in our life.”
- One user Tweeted, “The main reason the sinkhole is increasing in size with every passing day is that it wants to be large enough to take all his long lost members in the White House to fit in at once.”
- One Tweet also advised Trump to make a Netflix show on the appearance of the sinkhole in the north lawn which has never happened before in any presidential era ever.
- One Tweet even asked Trump to take advice from the 11-year old on how to fill in the sinkhole as his ground keepers are busy laughing it all out.
- The other most popular Tweet thanked Trump for the opportunity, as he as a stand-up comedian was out of topics to start and end their show with, but Trump came to the rescue every time.
While others were passing different opinions, some were busy questioning why the sinkhole specifically opened near the press hall and not somewhere else. This is very intriguing.
Moreover, years ago John Adams quoted, “May none but honest and wise men rule under this roof.” Many people think that his wish has remained unfulfilled in the era of Trump. Not only this indicates that people believe he has reversed the draining process but looks like he fell in the same trap he created for other politicians in the country.
It is sad how the public is joking about the sinkhole rather than worrying about it. The appearance of the sinkhole and that too at the White House is a serious matter. Sinkholes are dangerous; and they can expand to the point where they can even swallow a whole town, and unfortunately, the White House is just like a minor town.
Moreover, the real concern should be its increasing size and number. The rocks can dissolve fast if water leakage or the cause of the sinkhole is not discovered soon. After all, no one would want the historical place like the White House to disappear suddenly.
But if the rain is the sole cause, it is important for members at the White House to take serious measures, such as use plastic or synthetic sheets to cover the area or any other sinkhole spots that may form across the coming years.
Lastly, Tweeting about your president is fine, but targeting his family – the way some of the tweets about the situation did – is a bit unethical.
Besides this, the sinkhole was a serious issue and the potential for more sinkholes to form in the future – and what that means for the structural stability of the ground underneath the White House – should not be overlooked at any cost. Plus, while effective and experienced experts were appointed to deal with the problem and fix this issue as soon as possible, it’s important to note that the presence of sinkholes is a red flag about the continuing safety of the foundation of the property above it.
While it is fun to joke about the sinkhole situation because it’s in the past, it’s important to note that sinkholes are a very real threat that few people know how to handle when it happens to their homes.
If you suspect that you have a sinkhole on your property or if you have damage from a sinkhole that has been closed, contact Bulldog Adjusters in order to get a free home inspection and help with your home insurance claim. Our goal is to help homeowners get their lives back on track after home damage disrupts their stable lives!