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Active, non-threatening sinkholes exist around Arizona

You might have seen the story about the sleeping man who was swallowed up by a massive sinkhole in Florida. The Arizona Geological Survey has been busy fielding calls about the existence of this natural occurrence in the Grand Canyon State.

Sinkholes do exist in Arizona.

“They are holes that occur in areas that have underlying soluble rock, which include limestone and salt bodies,” said Michael Conway with the Arizona Geological Survey. “The groundwater travels through these rocks and slowly, bit by bit, molecule by molecule, they do dissolve those rocks.”

Conway also said groundwater travel causes fractures or caverns to open up, leading to caves or sub-surface features. If there isn’t sufficient support above, the earth collapses as was the case in Florida.

He said the most active sinkholes in Arizona are in Sedona.

“There are seven or eight sinkholes that have been identified, two or three of them have been active historically,” said Conway.

In addition to the Sedona area, geologists have identified active sinkholes in the Holbrook Basin.

Another example of a sinkhole, one which thousands have witnessed, is Montezuma’s Well.

“It’s a marvelous example,” Conway said.

Fortunately, for Arizona city dwellers, geologists said the limestone in the area is buried much deeper than in other areas and that the chances of being swallowed up by a sinkhole are minimal.