Sinkholes have been popping up all over the place lately throughout Maryland. To date, there have been about 16 sinkholes that have been reported throughout the county. Before you panic, be aware that not all sinkholes are likely to swallow your home or vehicle. Most of them pose little danger to you.

The sinkhole in Eldersburg was made by a person, and is relatively small in size. It was eight inches in diameter and approximately three to five feet deep.

What Causes Sinkholes?

A sinkhole is caused by soluble rock beneath the land surface that dissolves over time due to circulating groundwater. As the rock dissolves and the groundwater moves on, a space is created. As stressors like cars or people walk over the space above the cavern, the land weakens and eventually collapses. Thus, you get a sinkhole.

Sinkholes are particularly prevalent after heavy rains. Though Maryland has its fair share of sinkholes, most of them aren’t particularly dangerous.

Sinkhole Safety and You

If you see an area that has been blocked off with cones and tape, avoid it. That’s the most important safety tip for sinkholes.

If the area is not yet blocked off, then it’s possible the authorities have not yet been informed about the problem. Click here to see a list of resources that you can call on to help you.

Even if the hole seems small, it can grow if it experiences more stress, so steer clear of the area. You should also look for patches of dead plants. Due to the caverns beneath sinkholes, plants on the surface cannot get the water they need to survive.

The basic rule of sinkhole safety is to stay away from it! Sinkholes can grow unexpectedly and you don’t want to be around when that happens.

What’s Happening Around the World with Sinkholes?

Sinkholes are opening up all around the world and some of them are as majestic as they are terrifying. In Oxford, Nova Scotia there is currently a vicious sinkhole swallowing up picnic tables and trees. It is growing at an unprecedented rate and locals are doing what they can to minimize the damage. Here’s a quick shot of it in action.

Florida, the land of the alligators and Disney world also has a major sinkhole problem that has been going on for a long, long time. The reason for this problem is that much of the state sits above limestone, which is one of those soluble rocks we talked about earlier.