An enormous hole unexpectedly opened up on Queensland’s Rainbow Beach in September, and the whole thing was captured on video. The shoreline shockingly changed overnight, a visible example of the damage that Nature can create.
No Day At The Beach
The hole is 650 to 980 feet wide and 25 feet deep, a truly gigantic gap in the beach. The hole opened up without warning overnight. No one was hurt in the bizarre phenomenon…mostly thanks to a stroke of previous bad luck. This part of Queensland was already on residents’ radar following a similar event that occurred in the area in 2015.
Known as a “nearshore landslip,” a hole of this nature previously opened up around the same beach. Residents were told to avoid the area after the 2015 hole swallowed vehicles and several tents whole. Campers nearby had to flee in order to avoid being hurt in the event. When holes like this occur in rock, they’re known as sinkholes. In coastal areas, this is a nearshore landslip. It’s a terrifying natural event because it occurs suddenly and without warning.
Science of the Sands
The Department of Environment and Science in Queensland believes these landslips are caused by erosion. When the erosion occurs below the waterline, the shoreline ends up losing support. This can potentially create a massive hole, as Queensland found out at Rainbow Beach.
In other words, it’s a completely natural event — albeit extremely frightening. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers have inspected the area, and authorities will continue watching the area to see if the hole gets any larger.
Australian officials say that similar landslips may occur in the same area within the next 12 months, or within a few years. They say the entire area is unstable. Residents should continue to stay away from the entire region, which is peppered with campgrounds and recreation areas. Anyone near Rainbow Beach needs to exercise extreme caution.
A huge section of Rainbow Beach literally vanished overnight. A skipper who works in the area said he saw people walking along the same beach just the day before. The next day, only the hole remained. He captured video of the frightening phenomenon. The gaping hole has filled up with ocean water, leaving a noticeable scar along the coastline.
The hole is believed to be stable at present, but other areas of the beach may also disappear at any moment.
Authorities say the hole that opened up in 2015 did repair itself over time, but the process took about two years. This new hole is much larger than this previous landslip, however, and may be much slower to recover.
Australia has been facing a coastal crisis in recent years. Several beach areas in the country are vulnerable to the effects of erosion. Seawalls and other structures help slow down the erosion, and the country has poured millions of dollars into various projects designed to help preserve beaches all over Australia.
The advancing erosion correlates to rising water tables in Australia, caused by irrigation and land clearing activities.