SINKHOLES: Are you at Risk?

Sinkholes can be dangerous in many ways. They can cause damage to the foundation of a building as well as buried services like water and electrical lines, because they serve as conduits for surficial contaminants to reach groundwater. Knowing the risk of sinkhole formation is key to minimizing possible damages. Since the amount of karst features in an area can be related to the occurrence of sinkholes, SSM created an interactive sinkhole risk map using the density of karst features within a geologic formation. The Interactive Sinkhole Risk Map provides the public access to searchable and interactive information such as karst density and geologic formations which contain carbonate rocks within Pennsylvania.

The information used to develop the map was derived from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (DCNR) data. Both the karst features information and geologic formations used in the making of this map were provided by DCNR. The map displays only geologic formations in which the geologic unit contains carbonate rocks. There is the possibility of sinkholes forming in non-carbonate environments, but those situations were not considered in the making of the map.