- GeoRef, Copyright 2004, American Geological Institute.
This paper presents a method for evaluating sinkhole potential based on eleven sinkhole characteristics that may be found during a subsurface investigation. In brief, the characteristics address the density of soil material at different depths, drilling properties, stratigraphic conditions and ground water levels. Each of the eleven-sinkhole characteristics is discussed in detail so the investigator can identify each characteristic during the subsurface investigation. Once the total number of sinkhole characteristics are identified the Sinkhole Score for the site is determined. The Sinkhole Score is the number of sinkhole characteristics found compared to the number of sinkhole characteristics possible. Also discussed is the Weighted Sinkhole Score, which is a modification to the Sinkhole Score that accounts for the importance of each characteristic. The significance of the sinkhole scoring method is discussed in determining the likelihood that a sinkhole has impacted existing construction or could impact future site development. The paper also discusses other factors that can cause sinkhole-like distress and discusses methods of detection.