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by joffa
Last updated 6 years ago

Earth Sciences

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The biggest sand boil ever was located in the city of Cairo Illinois at the Mississippi river and the Ohio river. Spring 2011, the United States Army Corps of Engineers had to contain the largest sand boil ever. It measured 30 feet by 40 feet.

Sand Boils can create flood hazards around the Mississippi river and New Madrid fault regions. The term sand boil comes from the appearance of it. Sand and water boiling up from beneath the ground.To make a sand boil there needs to be more water on one side of the levee than on the other. If you make high pressure on one side of the levee, holding back water is the basic function of holding back the levee. Then this part of making a sand boil is met.Water begins through the soil under the levee. The water sits on the soil. The water moving under the levee starts to remove the soil particles. It will start to deteriorate the structure of the levee. If enough soil particles are moved from under the levee the levee will collapse.

If the water coming through the sand boil doesn't have soil particles coming through with it, the structure may not collapse. That has to be left up to geotechnical engineers who are experts on soils. One way to equalize a sand boil is to have the same amount of water on both sides of the levee. This will build up temporary sandbag dams around the boil, filling that area of the boil with water. The pressure from the water will slow or stop the movement of the water and particles. It helps reduce the pressure difference that is pushing the water under the levee.

Pictures of Sand Boils

What was the biggest Sand Boil ever?

How do we know that Sand Boils relate to earthquakes?

Sand boils are usually near rivers. Commonly near the Mississippi river, the Ohio river, and also New Madrid.

Where do you find Sand Boils?

What are Sand Boils?

Sand Boils

On December 16, 1811 there was an earthquake estimated 8.0 on the richter scale. It shook a small town called New Madrid. That earthquake was the first one out of three very powerful earthquakes that shook the central part of the Mississippi river that winter. Survivors of the quakes said it wasn't only intense ground shaking and moving. There was something unfamiliar coming through the cracks of the earth's surface. There was water and sand spurting out of the ground. Eliza Bryan sent a letter from New Madrid saying there was water and sand spurting from fissures in the earths surface covering hundreds of acres. 21st century earthquake researches say water and sand spurting out of the ground is known as earthquake dewatering, which results from liquefaction.


My I wonder question is what are sand boils? I asked that because I didn't know what sand boils are, or anything about them. I also found sand boils when I was looking through the national geographic magazines. Then I looked it up because I was really interested in them.


A sand boil is basically water and liquefied sand that boils up above the surface. Sand boils can sometimes shoot up to 30 feet into the air. Sand boils can be in rivers [under water]. They can also be near rivers above the surface. Sand boils happen from earthquakes because they make fissures in the earths surface. The fissures allow the water to boil up above the suface.

Pictures of Sand Boils


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