Every now and then, you’ll see a news story about a sinkhole that suddenly opens up and causes quite a panic. Although it may seems like these are only on rare occasions, sinkholes are actually common all over the world.
Sinkholes are called different names around the world, including swallets, swallow holes, sinks, shake holes, centoes, and dolines. Although they may be called by different names, they have very similar causes.
Sinkholes are holes in Earth’s surface caused by natural karst processes. Karst processes occur when water and chemicals dissolve carbonate rocks, such as limestone, to form sinkholes and caves.
For instance, one common scenario involves the gradual erosion of bedrock by ground water that percolates down through cracks in the bedrock. As the rock erodes and becomes weaker, spaces and caverns develop underground.
The land above the developing spaces usually remains intact until the rock underneath can no longer support it. When the ground spaces grow large enough, a sudden collapse of the surface land above can occur.
This is what happens when a sinkhole “suddenly” opens up. Obviously, the underlying process have been going on for a while.
Sinkholes can also be caused by human factors. For example, man-made mines that are no longer used occasionally cause collapses. Water and sewer pipes that break may lead to the formation of sinkholes if they create underground flows that speed the process of erosion and the exploitation of the underground water for crops.
Sinkholes range in size from 3 feet to over 2,000 feet both in width and depth.
If you have a sinkhole in your home and would like to repair it, please contact us below.
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