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Frontier Basement Systems
Sinkholes are a common occurrence, are you sure you're on solid ground?
Joelton, TN - February 11, 2016
Sinkholes are a common occurrence in our region. They can be a nuisance and even life threatening at times because of how unpredictable they seem to be. Frontier Basement Systems is located in Clarksville, Tn and more specifically near the town of Sango. Sango has the highest density of sinkholes in all of Middle Tn and with the recent growth of this town, sinkholes will likely become a growing concern amongst the residents. Without X-Ray vision it would be extremely difficult to pin point the next location of a collapse, but let's look at what we do know.
First, lets recognize that there are two major kinds of sinkholes or as the geology aficionados know them as, 'dolines'. The first kind is known as a 'Collapse Doline' or sinkhole to us common folk. These are the sinkholes that get the attention from the media. So lets talk about these: Take for instance the big collapse the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY had. Do you think the owners of this facility ever saw that coming? Of course not. Should they have? Maybe. Sinkholes occur where cave systems are present. Other than the Corvette Museum, what other attraction is Bowling Green known for? The winner is......Mammoth Cave. Mammoth Cave is the LONGEST cave system in North America, so long that Geologists are now discovering that it has caverns that connect to the Dunbar Cave here in Clarksville, TN. It also links to smaller cave systems in St. Louis and as more time passes the longer and larger these cave systems will get. How, you ask? Well, the primary bedrock that we build are lives on in this region is Limestone. When it rains, as the water passes through the soil and makes contact with the bedrock it creates hydrochloric acid. The acid slowly eats away at the Limestone, eventually creating depressions in the ground. As I said before, there are two major types of sinkholes, the other one being subsidence sinkholes. These types of sinkholes have less of a chance of ever collapsing. In order for a sinkhole to collapse it needs to have a well defined passage to the cave below. These passages are called 'swallets'. Simply put a sinkhole with a well defined swallet would be a collapse sinkhole and a sinkhole that does not, or has several small swallets would be a subsidence sinkhole.
It's important that I mention both for a couple reasons. Tennessee and Kentucky are littered with cave systems throughout different areas of the respective states. So no matter where you are it would be nice to know what to look for. If you are dealing with a subsidence sinkhole one possible telltale sign maybe Cyprus trees. Cyprus trees are large and take a while to mature. They thrive off of surface water and sinkholes collect water very well. But in the end subsidence sinkholes do not pose as great of a threat as a collapse sinkhole does.
Unfortunately only time will tell when the surface below will fall away. The best we can do is to try to avoid buildings over karst areas. But seeing how it's a little late for that, we just have to properly repair the areas that do collapse. Let me be the first to tell you that simply filling the hole up with rock or concrete, won't do it. Sinkholes are an active force. If you have one, there is likely another or several more growing nearby. As long as water is able to make contact with the bedrock below, the area remains at risk.
So this post really goes out to all the developers and homeowners out there; know that there is only one proper repair to be able to stop a sinkhole from expanding further. Most people have sinkhole insurance. If you're not sure check with your insurance agent to find out. At Frontier Basement Systems we want to help you with the repairs of your foundation and we will coordinate with the proper geo technitians to be able to permanently fix your home.
Click the link below to learn more: http://water.usgs.gov/edu/sinkholes.html