Chemical Weathering And human impact


By increased chemical levels in the groundwater from human activity, the bedrock beneath the soil weathers and can create sinkholes when it is no longer able to support the above mass.

Various Images of Sinkholes


Increased carbon dioxide from human pollution in the atmosphere combines with the water in the atmosphere to creating increased levels of carbonic acid which precipitates as acid rain. As the rain works through the rocks and soil it reacts with the limestone creating larger and larger cavities below the surface. When the roof of the cavity can no longer support the weight of the ground above, it collapses as a sinkhole. In addition, water mains and sewer pipes that run underground can corrode and leach out harmful chemicals and water which can lead to increased instability under the surface.

Formation of a sinkhole.


One potential solution would be to decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide and other chemicals that lead to acid rain or acid runoff. If the amount of acid rain decreased then the rate of chemical weathering below the surface would also decrease.

Builders should avoid developing areas that are more at-risk for sinkhole formation. The additional stress of development could cause underground cavities to collapse and form a sinkhole.

Another potential solution would be to improve or replace the underground water and sewer pipes to prevent corrosion and chemical leaks.

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