Heavy Rainfall After a Prolonged Drought Can Lead to Land Depressions in Your Yard

by Jim Olson, P.G.

August 10, 2017


Long sought-after rain that arrives following a drought brings relief to your lawn and landscaping, but it also may cause a land depression or even a sinkhole to form.  First, don’t panic!  This may be an isolated feature and potentially an easy and inexpensive fix.  Simply filling the feature and monitoring it may be the recommended course of action.

However, you do not want to go poking and prodding around a newly formed ground depression.  This feature may be a surface expression of a much larger hidden feature buried out of sight. Give our geologists a call and let us investigate and determine the risk level of the feature.

An extended drought can leave the limestone underlying your property with air-filled (rather than water-filled) cavities.  These cavities can be easily filled with overlying soils and transported by your much anticipated heavy rainfall.  These prolonged drought events followed by large amounts of rainfall in a short time can expose a subsurface feature that has been hidden for many years.  Cavities cannot and do not develop following a single heavy rain, but sinkholes certainly can and do.

If a sinkhole has formed, or if it’s determined there is a larger cavity beneath a surface depression, possible remedies include a full engineering program to a homeowner-led remediation strategy.

In either case, it is best not to ignore any abrupt land changes at your property even if they are far away from the house. We can come out and quickly take a look at what is going on and determine its cause. The best solution to protect your home and investment is to be proactive. During the heavy seasonal rains, you should be on the lookout for any changes in your yard.  Give Geohazards a call if you see anything that is out of the ordinary.

For a free phone consultation, our Director of Geology and Geophysics, Jim Olson, P.G., can be reached at (352) 371-7243 or [email protected]

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