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Can Your Home’s Soil Conditions Lead to A Sinkhole

In Residential Blog Posts by John Topa

When you think of up keeping your property, the first thing that comes to mind may not be the conditions of your soil. Depending on what kind of soil are on your property and their water holding capabilities, they could increase the likelihood of a sinkhole. Read on to see how your home’s soil conditions could lead to a sinkhole.

Soil Saturation


One of the soil conditions worth noting is your soil saturation level, which is the amount of water your soil can hold. Soil saturation can be affected by different conditions including rain, flooding, sewage problems, or other circumstances that introduce water to your property’s soils. Have you ever noticed certain areas in your yard where water pools? This might be an indicator that your soil is saturated and cannot take on any more moisture. Pooling could also be a sign that your property’s soils don’t drain properly causing water to remain stagnant.

Soil Type

It’s important to know what kind of soils make up your property as this can affect how much water is able to drain through it. For example, a soil that consists more of sand will drain faster than more dense soils like clay. Your soil could fall into any of the following categories:

  • Clay soils – small particulate, which leads to more compaction. More compaction means less water is able to be absorbed by this soil.

  • Silt Soils – Water retentive, however this particular soil type is prone to washing away. Drainage through this soil type is great however.

  • Sandy soils – Largest particulate size, leading to better drainage. Although this oil type is best at draining, it is also most prone to washing away.

  • Loam Soils – Loam soils are a combination of clay, silt, and sand, offering up some of the benefits of all three. The clay helps keep this soil from washing away, silt helping water retention, and sand helping with drainage.

Different Soils, Different Sinkholes


There are different kinds of sinkholes which can be stem from different soil types.

  • Subsidence sinkholes – these are sinkholes that form when the soil layer over the limestone bedrock is mainly comprised of sand. These are especially common when there is sandy soils on top of limestone. As water erodes the limestone, the sand filters down into the voids causing gradual sinkholes.

  • Solution sinkholes – These kinds of sinkholes occur when the soils on top of the underlying limestone are thin. A thin layer of soil is more likely to wash away exposing the limestone and causing erosion.

  • Cover-Collapse Sinkhole – the most catastrophic of the three kinds of sinkholes. This kind of sinkhole occurs when the underlying limestone has eroded away, but the soils above are compacted enough to hold weight, but eventually give way. Clay, or compacted soils can lead to this kind of sinkhole.

It’s important to know what the conditions of your home’s soils are so you have a better idea as to how likely a sinkhole on your property will be. Keep an eye on what kinds of soils are on your property and whether or not there is an excess of water.

If you have noticed some of these signs around your home, contact Helicon for a professional inspection.