What Causes Sinkholes

What Causes Sinkholes?

SHAUN ATKINSON Water Leave a Comment

There are two main types of sinkholes which occur differently. Natural sinkholes occur due to natural causes like the presence of underground water or soil erosion. Human-made sinkholes occur due to activities of man. A sinkhole does not just happen in a day, the process is gradual, and there are tell-tale signs before one appears.

A sinkhole can develop for years before it caves. There are many different layers beneath the stable soil and rock layer we all know. There are minerals and rocks in constant flux; underground water is also continually trickling through the rocks and minerals and compromising their strength.

If the amount of water increases, rocks that do not have a firm grip are washed away which causes the ground to shift. When the supporting rocks and minerals weaken, they collapse and the ground above caves into a hole.

Some of the human-made causes of sinkholes include:


During mining and construction, there is a lot of drilling involved. The machines can easily drill through the supporting rocks and minerals weakening them. When the heavy mining and construction equipment press down on the areas, the rocks give in causing sinkholes. A small sinkhole is manageable while a giant sinkhole can be a huge risk.

Broken water pipes

Unattended plumbing can result in a sinkhole. As the water from the broken pipes seeps further into the ground, it leads to erosion of the mineral layers and rocks supporting the field. Continued erosion leads to collapse and results in a sinkhole.

Dumping massive weight on soft soil

Some areas have weak rocks and minerals holding them together. When a lot of heavy material like stones or sand accumulate in such areas, the weight pushes the ground down forms a sinkhole. Alterations to the land surface also result in the formation of sinkholes.

Areas that have a high concentration of limestone and carbonate rocks are very susceptible to sinking as the minerals corrode over time from rainwater and underground water. Implementing sinkhole prevention measures should be in place since they are dangerous. Regard any signs of a potential sinkhole with seriousness and take appropriate action.

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