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Van with woman, children inside lands in Saskatoon sinkhole


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, May 29, 2015, 3:43 PM - A woman and two children are recovering after the minivan they were driving in plunged into a sinkhole in Saskatoon Thursday evening.

The sinkhole opened up at 45th Street and Hanselman Avenue just before 5 p.m., according to Global News.

The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, initially thought the crater was a pothole and that she could drive her vehicle over it. 


RELATED: Sinkhole swallows bus, then spits it back out


When she did, the front end of the car fell in the carter and water started to seep inside.

The driver told authorities her van did not reach the bottom of the hole and the vehicle was balancing on the edge of it.

Everyone involved in the incident escaped the car safely. The intersection is expected to be closed for several days as crews attend to the broken water main that may have triggered the sinkhole.

HOW DO SINKHOLES FORM?

"Sinkholes have one of the most straight-forward, self-explanatory names we've ever given to something, because they are - quite literally - holes that form from sinking earth," says Weather Network meteorologist and science writer Scott Sutherland.

"The process behind how they form is fairly straight-forward as well. It's just a combination of water, erosion and time. As water flows through the ground, it filters its way through the grains of dirt, rock and sand in the top soil and even through the grains of the underlying bedrock. If that bedrock is made of something like gypsum, limestone or dolomite, the water can wear it away, simply by dissolving away some of the sediments that make up the rock."

This can take some time, but constant or repeated exposure can dramatically speed up the process.

While experts can't predict when a sinkhole will form, they can identify high-risk areas.

RELATED VIDEO: SIX SINKHOLE FACTS YOU DIDN'T LEARN IN SCHOOL:

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