A sinkhole 20 by 30 meters (65 by 98 feet) in size has been found near a Uralkali mine in Russia's Perm region.
The sinkhole was first discovered by Uralkali's Solikamsk-2 mine workers on November 18. According to local emergency services, it's located some two miles from the mine itself, in an old abandoned mine.
Old, out-of-use garden patches were affected by the accident, and there is no danger to locals, as the sinkhole is in no close proximity to any residential buildings, the company said.
The company that owns it, Uralkali has now stopped working in mines, evacuated the area and asked the 2,000 workers to stay home.
OAO Uralkali, Russia’s biggest potash miner, is monitoring the Solikamsk-2 mine about 1,000 miles (1,800
kilometers) east of Moscow after it halted operations and evacuated workers because of rising inflows of salty water into the site yesterday. Water can be deadly for potash mines because it dissolves the mineral deposits.
A part of the mine collapsed in 1995, causing an explosion of gas. Incidents of this kind can take place regardless of the protective measures taken by the miners.
There are opinions of experts who say that this crater, as the earthquake that took place here in 1994 were caused by a strong undercurrent of gas produced under pressure, which is common near the salt mines.
Under normal conditions gases or liquids under the high-pressure underground reason that they are, in fact, a support on which the soil located above them. Following extraction of human actions that support their gravity disappears and impose new tasks on the layer above the ground. Their calculations very well developed that can show whether after the extraction process will resist soil layer or not. Cases after extraction occurred soil subsidence, are numerous throughout the planet, which means that very important is who makes these calculations and takes responsibility for starting the extraction.
In this case, we are dealing with an abandoned salt mine that Russian company decided to flood. The action aims to introduce an underground liquid water in our case, replacing the air to create more support for the layer above the ground. If a coal mine this action serves no purpose in the sense that it creates a "water cushion" which reduces soil layer above the tasks in a salt mine must be taken into account that between water and salt chemical reaction occurs, which does not happen with water and coal. It is known that, under normal conditions, the salt (NaCl) in combination with the water (H2O) to give as a result of three compounds: sodium hydroxide (NaOH), chlorine (Cl2) and hydrogen (H2). I said "under normal circumstances" because of those uninitiated into the mysteries of chemistry, overlook a detail, namely that the air we breathe is actually a mixture of gases: nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O) mainly and other gases in small proportions. This means that the chemical reaction between salt and water that takes place in the open air gases also involved in this process to some extent, influence the results of relationships chemicals. With totally different things where the reaction takes place underground in a confined space, especially in the absence of air, even in the presence of gases that may result from the extraction of potash, and I mean the methane. In an enclosed gas volume can not be changed leading, where chemical reactions immense pressure fluctuations. Research scientists have shown that in the furnace 1 c.m. the gas needs 10 c.m. air. Imagine collieries can be likened to a hose closed at both ends in the chemical reactions that occur to which I referred. If a stone cut out of the mine hit another stone wall is a spark which ignites the methane gas. By instant methane begins to "consume" the little existing mine air which creates a very strong suction on the walls of the mine, which will give the weakest point to rebalance the pressure in the mine.
Worthy of notice is the effect they have compounds resulting from dissolving the salt in water in the presence of lack of air and gas in a confined space.
While the company says the development is no further threat, locals fear the whole nearby town could go underground.
There are no "catastrophic" effects of the sinkhole neither for the company nor for the locals, Uralkali CEO Dmitry Osipov said, adding that the incident has been localised.
Before the giant hole appeared near the town of Solikamsk, the company, which is Russia's biggest potash miner, evacuated workers at the Solikamsk-2 mine, due to the inflow of saline water. Operations at the site have been halted, and the level of underground water is being monitored.
Locals fear that the hole could get bigger and swallow their houses, which are some 2 miles from the sinkhole now. Regional authorities say the sinkhole could get bigger, but would still be of no danger to people.
"The sinkhole will get slightly bigger... up to 50 by 60 meters [164 by 197 feet] - maximum," Perm Governor Gennady Tushnolobov told journalists, regional media reported. He added that the exact size of the expansion will be determined in a couple of days.

The flooded mine, Solikamsk-2, is connected to another mine, Solikamsk-1, which is causing concerns among people in the region. The underground tunnels linking the two were walled up decades ago, but water would only need time to break through, people fear.

The town of Solikamsk is located "almost entirely" above the Solikamsk-1 mine, according to the town's mayor, Sergey Devyatkov, reported. If the mine is flooded - which could happen in theory, but not in the immediate future - the whole town would have to be evacuated, according to the source.

"There is no need to talk about the first mine now. All is good there," the mayor said in an interview with Russia's KP daily, adding that the situation is monitored around the clock, and there is plenty of time for observation.
"Various possible impacts of the brine on connections [between the two mines] are being studied now, not to let the flooding of the first mine happen. I think the final decision will be made in two weeks, but even if no action on fortification of walled-up tunnels is taken, scientists predict they could stay strong for another five to 15 years," Tushnolobov said, reported.

Uralkali said that Solikamsk-1 and Solikamsk-2 mines border each other, and together with leading geologists the company is monitoring all processes in both of the mines, which produce potash chloride, to be used primarily as a crop nutrient. The company's facilities in the area have previously been affected by similar incidents. Uralkali's oldest mine was shut down in 2006 due to water inflow, which also caused a sinkhole to form in the town of Berezniki, which is the second largest town in Perm region.

Another sinkhole appeared in Berezniki in 2011, when a round hole as wide as 137 meters (450 feet) formed less than a mile away from a residential area.

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