How can I tell if a sunken area in my yard is a sinkhole?
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
If you have discovered a depression or hole in the ground that appears to be growing, it could well be a sinkhole. But a number of other things can cause the ground to drop, including:
•• Decomposing trash or organic material underground, such as debris buried during land clearing or a garbage pit from a former homestead on the site.
•• Collapse of a septic tank or cesspit, especially one abandoned long ago.
•• Collapse of an abandoned underground fuel oil tank due to corrosion.
•• Broken sewer drain pipes underground.
•• A vein of expansive clay soil in the ground during a dry spell.
•• Collapse of an abandoned hand-dug well.
Unless it's a deep, dramatic hole like the one above, called a “cover collapse” sinkhole, it may take a professional geologist to tell you for sure what you have. Here’s a excellent graphic presentation from the University of Florida Geology Department to help you recognize the signs of sinkhole develpment and types of sinkholes.
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