What Causes a Sink Hole?


Quick Answer

Sinkholes can occur naturally or as a result of human activities. Most collapse within a matter of seconds with little or no warning. However, in most instances, sinkholes develop from years of soil erosion beneath the ground's surface.

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Full Answer

Natural sinkholes typically occur as a result of corroded underground water that develops long before the sinkhole appears. The sinkhole gradually develops as water slowly seeps in between the mud, rocks and minerals in the ground. The water erodes the rocks and minerals as it makes its way to ground water reservoirs. Sometimes, the water flow increases rapidly and washes away the underground structure. When the ground structure becomes too weak to support the surface of the earth, the ground collapses and forms a sinkhole. Natural sinkholes are bound to occur and cannot be prevented.

Human activities, such as drilling, mining and construction, can also cause sinkholes. Water from broken drain pipes penetrate the mud, rocks and minerals and erode the ground. Sometimes, during excavation, workers improperly compact soil, which causes sinkholes. Sinkholes form on land and in the ocean, and they develop in all parts of the world. The risk of a sinkhole developing can be minimized by performing regular underground plumbing maintenance.

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