FromQuarkstoQuasars

The Gateway to the Underworld: Thor’s Well

Thor's Well
Meet Thor’s Well (Image Credit: Nathaniel Reinhart (Flickr)

Located off Cape Perpetua — a typical Pacific Northwest headland off from the coast of central Oregon, Thor’s Well is a beautiful but very dangerous spectacle to behold. Thor’s Well (also known as ‘Spouting Horn’) is a salt water fountain/sinkhole, which is driven by the immense currents of the Pacific Ocean. Since the area is shrouded in sharp rocks, getting a picture of this natural beast is difficult, but the results are incredibly beautiful.

Sinkholes are, to be frank, terrifying monsters.

They are massive holes that open up in the Earth (often) without warning. They can be as small as a car, or they can span hundreds of acres. Some dip just a few meters into the earth, while others are over 2,000 feet (600 meters) deep. These beasts have swallowed people, cars, trees, and even entire houses or city blocks. Sinkholes are terrifying; they are unstoppable; they are deadly; and they are almost entirely unpredictable.

Fortunately, in most areas of Earth, they aren’t terribly common.

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Sinkholes (also aptly known as “sinks”) owe much of their creation to water. Most often, these form because of extreme erosion that is taking place in the rocks beneath the soil. Ultimately, sinkholes generally develop slowly as bedrock is whittled away by water, but sometimes, when there has been enough erosion and the pressure is just right (or just wrong), the ground will give way all at once–swallowing trees, people, and anything else unfortunate enough to be standing in the immediate area.

If they develop slowly, however, it is possible to take some protective measures in order to protect buildings and nearby life.

Of course, as was already stated, in most places, sinkholes are not very common. So you do not need to fear being consumed by the Earth while you sleep (though that has happened before in Florida); however, it is extremely important for city planners to take erosion into consideration during the building process. Failing to do so can have deadly consequences

Thor’s Well is believed to have formed from an underwater cave that eventually collapsed. (See more amazing images here.)

WATCH: Thor’s Well

 

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