Sinkholes are an incredibly scary prospect due to the unpredictability of which they seem to occur. A sinkhole that popped up in Florida famously did most of its damage in the middle of the night, leaving one resident trapped as he slept. It seems as though there is no way to tell where the next sinkhole will pop up. But while sinkholes might mystify the general population, scientists are able to tell us why and how sinkholes occur, even if predicting them remains difficult.
A sinkhole appears when the top layer of the earth collapses, leaving a large hole exposed to the surface. This is typically caused by the presence of water under the ground which absorbs into a porous substance, such as limestone, and eats away at it until it dissipates. The water can be caused by an abundance of standing water, such as a natural flooding occurrence, or the raising of the level of the natural water table under the surface, which can again be due to flooding.
Geologists think there are definite reasons that certain areas are more likely to have sinkhole activity. The presence of limestone, sandstone or gypsum in the area’s natural landscape is one of the risk factors. These minerals are known to be susceptible to water erosion, making them likely to help sinkholes develop. In addition to Florida, other regions within the US that are susceptible to sinkholes include Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Around the world, certain parts of Mexico, Eastern Europe, and Italy are known for sinkhole activity.
Many of the people who eventually lost their homes and possessions to sinkholes did not see any signs of the problem before it occurred. However, there are a few signs that you may notice if you’re especially vigilant. Cracks may appear in the home’s foundation or along the walls as the home sinks below the level it was originally built at. If the sinking continues, you may be able to see the home slanting in one direction on the lot. Along with the movement, you should hear the creaking and settling sounds commonly associated with an older home, even if the home is newer. The earth around your home may feel soft or shaky as you walk on it, or have a noticeable slant to it.
If you have reason to believe there is sinkhole activity happening under your home, or have experienced damage due to sinkhole related activity, your first instinct might be to call your insurance company right away. Instead, consider contacting a public adjuster, who can help you have the best chance of getting your claim approved. The team of public adjusters at Five Star Claims Adjusting are always able to help with your claim. Contact us today to get started.