No doubt fueled by concerns about the effects of climate change, it seems that the natural reaction of many when natural disasters occur is to attach some of the blame to an overall global trend of environmental decline.
Some of these concerns are justified, as the seriousness of the warnings from scientists continues to grow and new information predicts faster than expected rises in sea levels.
All of this is to say that there's a healthy mix of skepticism, doubt and alarm when we hear news of extreme weather or other natural phenomena. It should not come as a surprise, then, that the recent story about the collapse of a large chunk of an Australian beach is receiving lots of attention. The beach is located at Inskip Point, a scenic peninsula located in southeast Queensland, Australia.
This size of the hole, measuring 200-300 meters in size, went back as far from the coastline as the trees.
In an effort to calm worry about the collapsed section of the beach, local authorities categorized it as a "nearshore landslip" rather a sinkhole.
A continuing phenomenon is erasing the coastline
This is not the first time that a large sinkhole has been reported on this beach. It was only three years ago that a 150m wide, 3m deep crater was created. And in dramatic sea creature-like form, when the large space opened up, it took a caravan, a car, a camper trailer and event tents along with it. It prompted the evacuation of 140 people from the area.
In 2016 a slight erosion also occurred on the fragile peninsula, although not as serious as in the other two cases. At the time, a spokesperson from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), the local authority that established order after each of the three events, said: "It's likely that this was another occurrence of the natural phenomenon which occurred in September 2015 at Inskip," adding, "It is caused by the undermining of part of the shoreline by tidal flow, waves and currents. 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."
By all indications, the large landslips witnessed in all three cases are merely a result of naturally occurring phenomena and should be no cause for great alarm, although a modest space of only 400 meters exists between the three holes themselves.