Science: Inferno in Idaho

The southwest corner of Idaho is a rugged land pocked by ancient volcanic activity. Once a desolate region covered by sagebrush, it has been reclaimed by irrigation. The soil, largely volcanic ash, is fertile with minerals. The rock beneath is honeycombed with caverns and air pockets, the result of ancient, igneous intrusions.

A fissure in the earth split the farm of Harley Robertson, soon widened as its sides fell in, became a canyon 200 ft. deep, its bottom crawling, heaving, puffing. It swiftly swallowed 20 acres of Robertson's farmland. Other fissures snaked across his property, threatened 80 acres more. Salmon Falls Creek...

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