I got out of my car a few days ago and I noticed a hole in my front yard. It wasn’t deep or wide (less than a foot each way), but it troubled me. I couldn’t remember seeing it there any other time. I’ve only been in my present house for six months.
On top of that, more and more news reports tell the story of sinkholes. In 2013, at least one man was killed when a sinkhole swallowed his bedroom while he was sleeping. Before seeing this report I would have never thought twice about the hole in my yard. But now, it’s definitely on my how-I-do-not -want-to-die-list.
So what exactly is a sinkhole?
The US Geological Society (USGS) defines “a sinkhole as a depression in the ground that has no natural external surface drainage.” They appear most in a ‘karst’ environments, which means that the landscape underneath is very soluble (easily dissolved). This type of rock may include salt beds or domes, gypsum, limestone, and other carbonate rock.
Can humans cause sinkholes?
Yes. Mining and drilling are two human activities that can definitely cause sinkholes. But then this phenomenon can be brought on by can leaky faucets, sewers giving way or as a result of groundwater pumping and construction.
What areas in the US are most susceptible for sinkholes?
Sinkholes tend to occur most often in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
What are signs we should look for when we suspect a sinkhole is forming?
Warning signs are not always present, but when they are, they may present themselves as fresh cracks in the foundations of a house or building, a door frame that is suddenly skewed resulting in a door that won’t shut, cracks or depressions in the ground, or even a tree that is leaning that wasn’t before.
So after all of this, do I think my house is sinking or do I have an overactive imagination? Prolly just my ‘magination, but a-rah, now that I know what to look for, I’m definitely keeping an eye out!