Sinkholes: What are they, how do they form and why are we seeing so many?

The sudden collapse of the ground under your feet is the stuff of nightmares and yet sinkholes are very real – read on to find out what’s causing them…
The UK seems to be suffering from a plague of sinkholes. In the past month alone a 15ft hole has opened up on the M25, a 30ft crater swallowed a car in High Wycombe and in Hemel Hempstead, homes were evacuated after a sinkhole 35ft across opened up in a residential street.

Meanwhile  in the US, an even bigger sinkhole (some 40ft wide and 20ft deep)swallowed up eight rare cars in a Corvette Museum. Thankfully, none of these incidents caused any injuries – but the thought of the ground opening up without warning is still justifiably terrifying.But what is a sinkhole and why does it seem that there are suddenly so many of them about?

What is a sinkhole?

A sinkhole is essentially any hole in the ground created by erosion and the drainage of water. They can be just a few feet across or large enough to swallow whole buildings. Although they’re often the result of natural processes they can also be triggered by human activity.

What are the different types?

There are two basic types, those that are created slowly over time (a cover-subsidence sinkhole) and those that appear suddenly (a cover-collapse sinkhole). Naturally, it’s the latter type that create headlines, but both varieties are formed by the same basic mechanism.READ MORE: ——–>

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