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Nature volume 23, pages 144145 | Download Citation



IN NATURE, vol. xxii. p. 560, I pointed out that landslips often occurred in the Salt Districts. I did not then expect that I should so soon be able to refer again to the subject; but on December 6, at an early hour in the morning, one of the largest subsidences and landslips ever known in Cheshire occurred. I pointed out that whenever fresh water reaches the rock salt it dissolves it. In certain districts in the immediate neighbourhood of Northwich the ground is completely honeycombed with rock-salt mines that had been worked out and abandoned. Into many of these fresh water had penetrated, and had become by solution strong brine. This brine has of late been extensively pumped up, and many of these extensive cavities had become nearly empty. The thin crust of rock salt forming the roof of these old mines had become gradually thinner, owing to its solution by water, and on Monday morning the roof of one pit gave way, and let the superincumbent earth down into the mine, rifting and opening the ground to the surface. The surface rift passed across the bed of a large brook, and the water of the brook ran through the crevice into the mines below. In a short time the water made a more extensive cavity, and as the brook was cut in two about 200 yards above its entrance into a large lake that was drained by the Weaver River, the water in the lower portion of the brook and of the lake, as well as of the Weaver, commenced to return and run down the enlarged cavity. For four or five hours this return stream increased in velocity, pouring down the crater-like hole. Notwithstanding the water of the brook and the return water, as well as a large body of water from another small lake entering this cavity, the water standing in the funnel-shaped hole gradually lowered. The velocity of both portions of the brook increased, and such was the force of the water that the bottom of the brook for 100 yards was scooped out from 2 feet in depth to 10 feet, and the banks were washed away, making the brook from 30 to 40 feet wide instead of 20 as at first.

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  1. Brookfield House, Northwich

    • THOS. WARD


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