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How bad are sinkholes?


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Snkholes are popping up all over and are damaging property.  One opened up beneath a guy's bedroom and he died in the process, so I'd say they can be very deadly.  Imagining driving down the road and a sinkhole opens up beneath your car. 

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There are several different types of sinkholes but by far the most common are caused by bed rock that has been dissolved by the action of ground water. The two types of bedrock that are most susceptible to this type of erosion are limestone and dolomite, which are widespread.




In the United States, we see the most sinkhole activity are Florida, Louisiana and Texas. However- this sort of geological activity is everywhere. This sink hole below occurred in Central America.




They can be quite destructive and strike completely without warning. Some occur after periods of intense rainfall while others appear to strike completely out of the blue.


Sometimes people attempt to fill in sinkholes with traditional landfill and the additional weight of material makes them collapse even more!


It has been suggested that the use of fracking for natural gas production causes sinkholes but that doesn't hold water since they occur at the same rate as they did before fracking came into use and areas where no natural gas is extracted.


The problem is that 1) humanity has spread out into areas that were once only wilderness, 2) we have a geologically active planet and 3) we have not paid particularly close attention to geological stability when we build and, clearly we are going to have to start.


It may also be a good idea to do geological surveys of major metropolitan areas to avoid serious problems in the future.

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Sink holes don't just form on land. They can form at sea where they are called blue-holes and attract a lot of attention from divers and fishermen.


This one is the Great Bluehole off Belize.

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Sinkholes can be entirely man-made. One opened downtown here because construction techniques on a storm sewer permitted a small water leak to flush out surrounding soil, until a street collapsed.


Statistically, you're more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than swallowed up by the earth. Are you gonna give up driving, or take your chances and pay your dues?

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