The US is suffering an epidemic of sinkholes causing property damage, road construction, and delays. Many fear sinkholes will continue to materialize and cause damage along America’s highways. According to Business Insider, a mere 20 percent of the North American land mass is susceptible to sinkholes. The most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. However, sinkholes are beginning to appear outside this region.
During May of 2018, sinkholes caused severe damage to Michigan’s highways. A three-foot deep hole appeared on the East Vermontville Highway, Skinner Highway and Michigan Highway 99 (M-99). According to a local news source, WILX 10, the sinkhole in Dimondale caused portions of highways to remain closed. Construction crews are uncertain how long it will take to remedy the damage. Additionally, on February 25th, a faulty pipe caused a sinkhole to appear along a residential road in Oxford, MI. A local news source, Click on Detroit, reported that flooding affected several residents and damaged a local road.
During 2017, sinkholes formed under major thoroughfares in Ocala, FL. According to Business Insider, neighbors and a well respected Geologist are concerned that the sinkholes will combine into a “mega-sinkhole.” The number of sinkholes appearing near major roads and homes caused one resident to state “they just keep coming, are we safe, we don’t know.”
Florida and Michigan aren’t the only places affected by sinkholes and the subsequent road construction. It was reported by Phys.org that a 12-foot sinkhole swallowed a car and passenger in San Antonio Texas, during 2017. The article continues to mention similar events in New York, California, and Georgia. Sinkholes don’t typically appear in these states and the appearance of sinkholes causes concern amongst both citizens and Geologists. Many fear sinkholes will continue to spread into the North West, causing property damage and road construction.
The sinkholes that are appearing under highways are unpredictable; they materialize without warning. Geologists disagree about the cause of our sinkhole epidemic, some attribute the sinkholes to weather and others the porous nature of the Earth’s crust. However, many Geologists agree that the sinkhole epidemic will continue.