Construction on the US White House began in 1792. It has been almost continuously occupied by U.S. 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 Steve Herman observed, just near the press briefing room.
“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, parts of the city of Washington, D.C., are also literally built on a swamp. The city’s geological issues also 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.
Last year, a giant hole opened in the earth in front of Donald Trump’s Florida resort, but that was due to a new water main, not a geological condition.