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Massive Sinkhole Opens Up Inside California Trader Joe’s

Massive Sinkhole Opens Up Inside California Trader Joe’s

Fans of Trader Joe’s know that when you need your TJs fix, you head to the store and stock up on all your favorites. Imagine showing up, though, to find your favorite Trader Joe’s not only closed but no explanation as to why. That’s what happened in Greenbrae, California, last week when shoppers arrived at the Larkspur Trader Joe’s only to find that its doors were locked and there was a vague sign explaining the store was closed for “unexpected construction.” San Francisco’s KRON reported that the cause of closure was actually due to a sinkhole opening up in the back of the store. Let’s dig in.

What is a Sinkhole?

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a sinkhole is defined as “a depression in the ground that has no natural external surface drainage.” In layman’s terms, that means when it rains, water is retained within the sinkhole space underground. The water eventually eats away at and dissolves the soluble rock beneath it, causing the phenomenon to occur. Types of soluble rocks that can dissolve in groundwater include carbonate rock such as limestone and dolomite rock. When the space left behind by dissolved rock gets so big that it can no longer support the weight of the land or buildings above, it collapses, consuming the collapsed content into a massive void.

The Largest Sinkhole in the U.S.

While there is no data recorded for the number of annual sinkholes that collapse each year in the U.S., there is record of the largest sinkhole ever recorded. Known as the “Golly Hole” in Shelby County, Alabama, the sudden collapse took place in 1972, and was a massive 325 feet long, 300 feet wide, and 120 feet deep. The image above shows a massive sinkhole that opened up in Winter Park, Florida back in 1981.

Annual Sinkhole Statistics: Deaths, Damage & More

While there are no national statistics kept on annual sinkholes, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation states that from 2006-2010, sinkhole claims in the state totaled $1.4 billion. In terms of annual deaths, a University of Florida professor who is also a contractor and has spent his career studying sinkholes, says that only two people have died in the past 40 years from sinkholes. In 2013, Jeff Bush was sleeping when the earth opened up and consumed his home. His body was never found, and though the home has long since been gone, the sinkhole has opened up two more times.

Back to TJs…

A post on Reddit from more than a week ago states the following: “TJs employee here. Gonna keep it short and sweet, the dairy fridge is literally sinking into the crawlspace below and there are visible cracks in the floor and a noticeable slope. An engineer/inspector is coming over soon to survey how bad it is, but there’s no official word on if it’s unsafe or not. Additionally, we were told to limit our answers to questions about it to just being a “construction project” (since the fridge is closed off), which seems pretty sketchy.”

But What It Really Was …

While the unexpected construction was originally thought to be due to a bad subfloor that started to sag due to the weight of the refrigerators, KRON reported that the Marin County Trader Joe’s was closed because a sinkhole opened within the store. Trader Joe’s remained incredibly silent about the matter.

Closed Indefinitely

The most recent update on Reddit states that the Larkspur store will be closed indefinitely. As the construction crew is working to remedy the situation, they’re finding more issues. Additionally, the sinkhole is impacting a liquor store in the same plaza, which indicates the sinkhole is incredibly large. The TJs website states that this location is closed for maintenance. Fans of the store will have to head to the nearby Trader Joe’s in San Rafael for their Everything But the Bagel seasoning and cheap wine fix!

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