The can have an impact on ground water, lakes, streams and more by changing water chemistry and rates of recharge. They cause loss of property, endanger humans and animals and extensive damage to the surrounding areas – be they roads, buildings, or homes.
If you were looking for what affects sinkhole creation, the amount of water in the soil is what affects them the most. Water slowly dissolves the minerals in the soil, which can leave open spaces in the rock where the soil above it can collapse into. Too much water can wash away the soil too quickly, while too little water makes the soil too dry to hold up the soil above it. Human activites such as placing heavy equipment on an area, disturbing the soil, or pumping groundwater can also cause sinkholes.
Sinkholes are a result of a change in geology beneath the ground surface. Everything rests on a geological foundation of rocks. Soil, plants, houses etc. are all supported by this foundation of rock. Different types of rocks have different chemical compositions, some of which are more susceptible to erosion by water (for example, limestone). Water is the main factor in sinkhole creation. As water flows underground it slowly wears away and erodes the minerals in the rocks of the geological foundation. This is a process that happens over a very long period of time, but as mentioned above rocks such as limestone erode more easily. Eventually over time, enough of the rock has been worn away that there are great holes or caves in the foundation rock. Sinkholes form because the foundation rock beneath the surface has eroded and since it’s no longer there, there is nothing to support the things on the surface, so the ground begins to sink into the hole in the foundation.
Sinkholes are a very serious problem in many locations around the world. They are most commonly associated with foundations in limestone or clays, as well as areas in which there is subsurface activities such as mining. Today technology exists that can aid us in identifying areas that are more prone to developing sinkholes. Scientists use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPA) as a tool to help them survey the subsurface, which actually produces a picture based on the radar and shows scientists what is or is not underground.
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