Gigantic holes form in Iran due to excessive water pumping

Gigantic holes in Iran were not caused by missiles or meteors, but are the result of land sinking due to excessive water pumping.

Authorities say some sinkholes formed in western Iran are as deep as 60 metres.

Amir Shemshaki, Director General of the Bureau of Geohazards, Engineering and Environmental Geology at the Geology Survey and Mineral Exploration of Iran, told France 24:

"These sinkholes are caused by large domes under the earth that collapse in on themselves. They usually take place in sedimentary layers, mostly in calcium or lime.

"There are many natural and human-made reasons that can lead to these collapses. The natural reasons include large amounts of water washing through them, or simply that they become too heavy over time. Human-made reasons include overconsumption of ground water – if the dome's structure is too dry, it weakens – as well as the presence of wastewater with high levels of PH, which can cause calcium and lime to dissolve.

"In Kabudrahang county, there are several factors combined: there's an overconsumption of groundwater, it has a high PH, and the ground formation is based on lime, which dissolves easily.

"To prevent the formation of sinkholes, the agriculture in this region must be adapted. Water consumption must be reduced via more effective irrigation practices."

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