Geologist Maria Elena Lupo gave this warning yesterday as curious onlookers gathered at the site in barangay Cambuang.
“There’s no way of knowing how big it will grow and when it will stop. It could suddenly collapse into an unexpected gap,” said Lupo, senior geologist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (DENR-MGB-7).
When Cebu Daily News visited the area yesterday, the ground continued to move.
Lupo, however, said the agency lacks the equipment to check the extent of “cavities” formed underground.
She said these empty gaps on the subsurfaceof the land are often found in volcanic or limestone areas.
A MGB team will visit the area on Monday.
She said local officials should act if they see the need to evacuate nearby houses.
Soil in limestone areas can easily weaken in water during heavy rains. Once the soil dissolves underground, it creates a gap that would eventually connect with other “cavities,” she said.
“When there are ground movements, it would create the sinkhole,” Lupo said.
She warned that the ground movement would continue and the sinkhole could expand.
Lupo said that the sinkhole could have been triggered by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake which hit Negros Oriental and Cebu last February 6.
She said geologists would need a geo-physical instrument that uses soundwaves to check which part of the ground is still solid but the machine is only available at the Water Resource Center of the University of San Carlos in Talamban.
On Monday, government geologists will gather information on the diameter of the sinkhold and map its depth.
DENR-MGB 7 previously observed the presence of sinkholes in 14 barangays in Cebu province. Eleven of these barangays are in Tuburan town in northwestern Cebu, 1 each in Argao town, Ronda town and in Dumanjug town. /By Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporter