Nature is awesome and mysterious. From volcanoes to tsunamis, nature can produce some of the most miraculous (and terrifying) phenomenons. One of these marvels of nature is a sinkhole. How do you explain the Earth eroding so deeply that it creates a hole large enough to swallow houses and cars? And, in the case of the Great Blue Hole, how do you explain a bottomless pool of water that just sinks into the depths of the Earth?
Not a lot is known about The Great Blue Hole (also known as Castalia). People are still trying to figure out its source, its appeal, and uses for it. And we're here to help! Here are some of the lesser-known facts about The Great Blue Hole, as well as other sinkholes that have made headlines in the U.S.
Castalia: Tourist Attraction And Marvel Of Nature
Not a lot is known about the origins of the Great Blue Hole in Ohio. However, we do know that it's been owned by the Castalia Trout Club since 1890. This marvel of nature was largely hidden and not really talked about, especially since the town's population is less than a thousand people.
The discovery of the Blue Hole is largely due to the train depot in the town's center. According to Paul Schoenegge of the Castalia Historical Society, people waiting to switch trains would kill time by walking around. He says that "[People] would walk down a little ways, and there would be this giant blue hole,"
It quickly became a tourist attraction, rife with picnic tables, greenery, and even a gift shop! The trout club's current manager, Steve Sessler, gives a very vivid portrait of the sinkhole itself. He states that it's "between 40 and 50 feet of depth" and that the water is "very clean, very clear".
Tourists who visited the fenced-off area claimed to feel very serene and people even claimed that it had healing powers.
In 1990, this tourist attraction that had been pulling in tourists for over 100 years shut down. Sessler stated that it was because the government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act and "they were going to have to upgrade a lot of facilities to accommodate that." New attractions in the area, such as Great Wolf Lodge and Kalahari, also contributed to the tourist site's downfall.
Today, the Great Blue Hole is used as a fish hatchery. Sessler explains that the club oxygenates the water and incubates up to 30,000 eggs yearly. The hatchery brings in members from as far as Oklahoma.
But there are still tourists who come to the sinkhole out of curiosity. They come to remember the sinkhole in its heyday. Resident Shirley Smith remembers that "it was interesting because they said it was bottomless. It was kind of scary for me as a kid."
Cheaper By The Dozen [Not The Only One]
And this Blue Hole is not the only one! Just in the area around Castalia, particularly on private farms, there about 6 confirmed Blue holes. The Castalia Fish Hatchery's current manager, Andy Jarett, explains that these blue holes actually do have a source.
He explains how the blue holes are connected by the Mystery River and that all the holes "are shared by the same underground river system." He jokes that "as far as size, ours is slightly bigger."
Today, all of the Blue Holes in the area are incubation sites for close to half a million eggs and they stock seventy different lakes and reservoirs.
While sinkholes can be beautiful, like the Great Blue Hole, others can be much more destructive. The U.S Geological Survey states that sinkholes can vary in size, from a few feet and a foot deep, to as large as a few hundred acres and as deep as wells.
A large amount of rain, thin soil and weak infrastructures are the perfect recipe for disaster. Sinkholes have been known to swallow homes, cars and claim many unsuspecting lives.
For example, in 2014, a 40-foot wide, and 25 to 30-foot deep sinkhole opened up under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. As seen in the above picture, although it didn't claim any lives, it did claim 8 unique Corvettes that results in $1 million in damages.
The following year in Seffner, Florida, a 17 foot wide and 75-foot deep sinkhole opened up on Faithway Drive. Tragically, it claimed the life of the man living there and destroyed his home. The other unfortunate fact is that a previous sinkhole had opened up two years earlier in 2013.