spaceSpace and Physics

A Huge Hole Just Swallowed Up A Beach In Australia


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


Image courtesy of Higgins Storm Chasing

A vast hole has opened up on a beach in Queensland after a landslip in the area, with footage capturing the huge gap.

Described as a “nearshore landslip”, the gap on Rainbow Beach at Inskip Point is estimated to be about 200 to 300 meters (650 to 980 feet) wide and 7.5 meters (25 feet) deep. The collapse happened overnight on Sunday, September 23.


It’s thought that the hole was caused by erosion, and fortunately no one was hurt in the incident. But people have been told to avoid the area after the event; in 2015, a similar landslip swallowed vehicles and tents.

“It’s likely this erosion has been caused by the undermining of part of the shoreline by tidal flow, waves and currents,” Queensland's Department of Environment and Science said in a statement.

“When this occurs below the waterline, the shoreline loses support and a section slides seaward leaving a hole, the edges of which retrogress back towards the shore.”

In an updated post today, the Department said that Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers had inspected the area and seen a slight expansion in the hole due to high ride and wave action. They also noted that reports of a second landslip in the area were unfounded.


Diana Journeaux from Rainbow Beach Helicopters said that the hole hadn’t been there when they flew overhead on Sunday. "We fly every day and it wasn't there yesterday," she said, reported the Brisbane Times. But a local skipper said he started to see the whole forming early on Monday morning.

The closest campgrounds are at least 150 meters (490 feet) away from the landslip, so they are not in any danger just yet. Authorities will be keeping a close eye on the hole to ensure it doesn’t get any worse.

This particular hole was located just a few hundred meters from the aforementioned event back in September 2015. More recently, another hit the region in 2016. And this probably won’t be the last one seen on the peninsula.

"We could see another one in 12 months, or we could see one in a few years," Peter Davies from the University of the Sunshine Coast told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


"All we can say with any certainty is that it's an inherent unstable area and will do this periodically."


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