Sinkholes are able to form when surface ground is weakened due to underground rock (such as limestone) that is very porous and can be dissolved by water. The rock is breaks down over long periods of time, since it is in contact with water, and therefore makes the surface very unstable. Houses and other buildings that have been built on these weak or weakening areas are often destroyed or damaged once the ground finally “collapses”. It can be a very hazardous problem so it is important to be aware of possible sinkhole locations when deciding where to build new homes or buildings.
One way that humans can increase the likelihood of sinkhole formation is by pumping groundwater. Water reserves underground are beneficial because they serve as a form of stability for the land. If we alter the underground water levels by pumping water for human use, then there will be less water to keep the ground stable and therefore cause that piece of land to be more susceptible to forming sinkholes.
Although it is hard to predict where some sinkholes may form, there are some ways you can monitor and be on the lookout for possible sinkhole formations. If you notice a driveway cracking or a suddenly uneven floor in your home, you may be experiencing signs of a sinkhole. Educating yourself and taking action if needed are two things you can do to keep you and your family safe.