Man discovers rift in South Sound seabed

The full effects of January’s 7.7 earthquake may still be coming to light, after a man discovered a large crack in the seabed of the South Sound lagoon.

David Walker, who has been regularly visiting the lagoon for years, said he had never seen the rift before.

“I was out paddle-boarding with my wife about two weeks ago, it was a beautiful and calm day when we saw it,” said David Walker. “At first I wasn’t sure what it was.”

Walker said he dove into the water and swam down to investigate the rift.

“I’d say it was about 30 to 40 feet long and about 6 feet deep in some parts,” Walker told the Cayman Compass.

Video of the underwater rift shot by Walker shows that it has become home to several species of fish and crustaceans.

Walker, 52, a life-long South Sound resident, said he has snorkelled and explored the waters of the lagoon for many years, and is sure the crack was not there previously.

“I was taking my wife to a different sinkhole not far off, where fresh water comes up from beneath the ground,” said Walker. “I believe [the newly discovered rift] might have opened up in during the earthquake earlier this year.”

Tim Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment, said the rift was not a cause for concern. “These types of features are not particularly unusual in certain areas around Cayman and South Sound is one of the more prolific areas for sink holes.” he told the Cayman Compass, noting he knew of several over the last few years.

“Basically our underground geology contains a lot of fissures and caverns that have been covered up over the years,” he said. “Occasionally (more common around earthquakes) these caves, fissures and other hollow features collapse causing the ground above to sink into the space created.”

Austin explained that the rift looks like “a typical fissure” that can be found in ironshore “that was covered up and then has been recently exposed”.

He added he didn’t think it was “any real cause for concern, but obviously if one occurs under a building or on the road as it did last month in this area then it could have some negative consequences”.

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