A sinkhole is part of a natural process common where erosion of the soil or ground occurs. It is very common where a large amount of easily soluble ground is present. Sinkholes will generally occur where limestone or other soluble terrain is within a few hundred feet of the surface.
Smaller sinkholes are the most common type. They usually range from 10 to about 12 feet in diameter. They are known to be smaller, but they can also be large enough to swallow buildings, roadways, cars, and more.
Sinkholes can form when there is a large amount of rainfall that seeps into the soil. The rain water collects carbon dioxide. This causes a reaction that can cause vegetation to decay, which makes the watert acidic. This acidic water moves underground. If the ground in the area is easily broken down, like limestone is, then it will dissolve. Voids are left where the solid ground used to be. The surface area above the void can collapse, causing a sinkhole.
Other factors can play into sinkholes as well, such as a period of drought followed by heavy rain. This can cause pressure above the voids causing sinkholes to form. In addition, there are human factors that can play into sinkhole formations. If a lot of groundwater is removed at one time, this can cause issues. Drilling for water wells or creating artificial ponds can also cause sinkholes to form.
Some areas are much more susceptible to sinkholes than others because of the ground conditions and climate. The states that see the most damage from sinkholes include:
Sinkholes are most common where the rock that is below the surface is a soluble rock type that can easily be dissolved by groundwater over time. Per the USGS, as much as 20% of our country is built on "karst terrain" or soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum, and is going to be susceptible to sinkholes.
There are many symptoms and signs you can watch for on your property. Look for:
If you suspect a sinkhole on your property, it is very important to get it checked out immediately. My Foundation Repairs has a network of foundation repair specialists that specialize in sinkhole remediation and offer free inspections. If you notice the signs above, then call us and we can put you in touch with a sinkhole specialist in your area. There are void filling techniques that can be used, such as permeation grouting with polymer resins that can fill and strengthen voids and even lift settling concrete. The method that would be used to repair your potential sinkhole will vary based on where you live and the size of the sinkhole. To learn more, call My Foundation Repairs to be put in touch with a sinkhole repair expert in your state.