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An actual sinkhole has opened on the White House lawn. It’s growing

Quartz logo Quartz 5/22/2018 Heather Timmons

Video by Time

Construction on the US White House began in 1792. It has been almost continuously occupied by US presidents since 1800, barring a few years after the British set it on fire in 1814.

But that doesn’t mean that the present-day building is free of hazards—there are mice, cockroaches, and ants. And as of this past weekend, a sinkhole has been growing on the north lawn, Voice of America reporter Stephen Herman observed.

“It was noticeably bigger between Sunday and Monday,” Herman said. “It’s more than a foot long right now,” he said. A second sinkhole has opened up right next to it, he said.

Often described as a “swamp” of corruption, the city of Washington, DC, is also literally built on a swamp. The city’s geological issues include “forebulge collapse,” a post-Ice Age condition that means the city could sink as much as six inches this century.

Sinkholes have opened up across the city in recent years. They forced two residents to abandon their homes in March, and swallowed up a school bus last year. This is the first report of one on the White House lawn.

Slideshow by photo services


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