Sinkholes are pits in the ground that are formed in areas where water gathers without external drainage, sinkholes are usually a silent threat due to their formation is not visible and there is no warning before its collapse, they cannot be detectable at first sight although some characteristics of the terrain can serve as a warning of their existence. However, the greatest hazard of sinkholes lies in the unexpected sinking of the ground, creating large holes that swallow everything above them. Even so, American Loss Consultant is widely capable of assisting you and keep you covered in case of a sinkhole arises around you

Sinkholes formation

Sinkholes have both, natural and human causes. Natural sinkholes occur when water erodes an underlying rock layer. On the other hand, human sinkholes are created after human activities affect the soil.

  1. Natural sinkholes
  1. Water caused sinkholes: created when water that drains below ground, it gradually dissolves the rocks under a soil mantle which includes salt beds and domes, gypsum, limestone and other carbonated rocks.

Although most of the time, sinks are formed gradually over the years, their collapse is usually sudden, this aspect is precisely what makes them so dramatic. The land generally remains intact for a period of time until the cavity which lies underground becomes too large. If there is not enough support for the land above the cavity, a collapse of the surface may occur.

  1. Cavern caused sinkholes: created by caverns, appear after the collapse of the roof of a cavern, this kind of sinkholes represent a more dangerous threat, even when the process of formation is gradual and the sediments erode over the years, when that roof collapses, the sinkhole opens up suddenly, swallowing any structures on top.

 

  1. Manmade sinkholes
  1. City caused sinkholes: created when the development of the city compromises the structural integrity of the underlying rock. Most common manmade sinkholes are caused by pipes and underground building that leads to a cavity formation by weakening the soil.
  2. Mining caused sinkholes: created when abandoned mines fail to keep their structure. It is important to note that mining can cause sinkholes regardless of the rock type of the ground, most of the time, underground cavities created by excavation are unattended and overlooked once the mining process is complete. When the ceiling of an old mine is unsupported, it will slowly lose its resistance and it could crash all the sudden.
  3. Drilling caused sinkholes: sinkholes are common near a drill site, drilling generally triggers existing sinkholes, accelerating their formation process and causing cracks around the place. Improperly compacted soil after excavation work, roads and buildings may place too much weight on the subsurface below, leading to a possible collapse of the ground under the drilling.
  4. Piping caused sinkholes: created after constructions that require groundwater to provide urban water supplies and for use in irrigation. Installing pipelines may lead to a collapse of the soil above if not managed properly, forming a sinkhole under the city.

Both of types of sinkholes, natural and manmade, can lead to a collapse of the soil. If you are a property owner, it is important that you regularly check your landscape if you live in an area that is vulnerable to sinkholes. The damage caused by either of these types of sinkholes can endanger you, your family and your property. Contact American Loss Consultant to learn how to protect yourself from sinkholes hazard.

Warning signs of a sinkhole

Sinkholes are hard to notice, however, there are clues that can indicate their existence. If you are unsure whether or not you live in a sinkhole risk area, check with your local, territorial, or national authorities.

To make sure there are no possible sinkholes forming around your home, it is recommended to look around the place for signs that may suggest the existence of a sinkhole, look for cracks along walls and floors, particularly in the basement; this cracks may also be noticeable along brick and mortar joints, you might see gaps where porches join with a house, doors and windows could jam, not opening and closing properly.

You should also look for cracks in the ground, rapid appearance of a hole in the ground, dips, depressions, slopes that appear in a yard and smalls sinkholes in the neighborhood. These signs could exist without the presence of a sinkhole; but if there is evidence of the existence of more than one of these characteristics, it is recommended to contact American Loss Company for a professional management of the sinkhole hazard.

Keep in mind, however, that some factors that existed during construction, such as soil moisture, soil compaction, and slope of the land surface, may also origin a sinkhole.

Sinkhole characteristics

Sinkholes come in many different sizes and shapes. They take form in unconsolidated sediments and are commonly circular in outline, but they can also be elliptical, linear, or irregular shaped. Some sinkholes will look as if someone scooped out a hole with a backhoe. Other sinkholes may resemble a funnel. The shapes of sinkholes change over time. Initially, sinkholes have steep or nearly vertical sidewalls. Portions of the sidewalls can break off over time and fall into the sinkholes. As this process continues, sinkholes get wider. If water continues to be added to a sinkhole, it can also get deeper. Furthermore, if there is a constant supply of water entering a sinkhole, it is possible for the cavity to keep on growing for years.

Safety Precautions
If you spot a sinkhole in your property, waste no time and secure the area, brightly colored flags can be used as warning signs. The main objective is to keep curious people away from the hole, particularly children. You should also inform your neighbors and your community about the hazard it represents and the steps to take in order to be safe. Pay special attention to people surrounding the sinkhole and let no one enter into the cavity under any circumstance.

Repairing a Sinkhole
Every sinkhole is different and unique; therefore, one standard method of repair may not be applied. When initiating a repair, the objectives should aim to stop loose material from moving down into the drain and then to remove the triggering mechanism. Removing the triggering mechanism could be risky, filling a sinkhole with crushed rock can address the problem over a period of time, but it does not guarantee a definitive solution to the problem, in most cases it only slows down its rate of growth.

Some repairs may require materials such as concrete, dirt, grout, synthetic coatings and various sizes and mixtures of crushed stone, repair tools can also range from heavy machinery to hand shovels. Since time is crucial when dealing with a sinkhole, you must waste no time looking for material and contractors. You definitely want to let an experienced company do the hard work for you.

American Loss Consultant holds a complete set of qualified allies to assist you in case of emergency. American Loss Consultant is prepared to act in case of natural or manmade sinkholes. Do not risk your property, family or yourself under any circumstance. Call a professional to handle the situation for you. Call American Loss Consultant today.

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