A sinkhole can make lakes disappear and turn waterfront homes into literal money pits.
Sinkholes are just one of the things that can make lakes vanish — sometimes right before your eyes.
Signs Of A Sinkhole / Disappearing Lake Near You
No matter where you live, you unfortunately can’t escape natural disasters.
As a homeowner, the best thing you can do is watch for any signs of sinkhole trouble which may include:
- New cracks forming near the foundation of your home or inside the home (walls, ceilings, floors, etc.)
- Slumping fences
- Stuck doors and windows
- Circular patches of grass or landscaping that appear to be sinking
- New areas of exposed lake shoreline or lake bed, especially when there are no signs of drought
- Small ponds of collecting water where flooding hasn’t occurred before
Disappearing lakes, the sinkholes that may cause them, and other geologic phenomena are all just part of Earth’s natural process. These events can have huge — even devastating — impacts on homeowners.
Check out what happened when Wisconsin’s Lake Delton washed away:
Though water did return to the dried-up Lake Delton, residents said the lake was simply never the same again. Many homeowners whose property was destroyed when the lake disappeared didn’t rebuild.
How Sinkholes Can Impact Lakefront Homeowners
Realtor Jessica Kingsborough, who sells houses in Tampa, Florida, an area that has many lakefront homes, says disappearing lakes have many consequences for homeowners who have properties near the affected body of water:
Lakefront properties are often in high demand and can bring significant premiums. Not only would the loss of lake lower the value of the home… owners might be required to disclose any known nearby geological issues. Potential buyers would be wary of the risks associated with a nearby sinkhole.
The sinkholes are far more serious than you may think.
Check out what happened when a sinkhole formed under this home:
Sinkholes, like the one that swallowed this house can form under lakes and ponds, causing the water within to literally drain into an abyss.
See what happened when a sinkhole sucked down water levels at Scott Lake in Florida:
The lake sunk and unstable ground nearby caused damage to the homes — exactly the types of problems Jessica says can happen when a lake disappears.
Experts warn that we may be in more danger than we realize:
As much as 25% of the earth’s surface may be prone to sinkhole formation. Large parts of Florida are susceptible to sinkholes. Western kentucky, southeastern New Mexico, western Illinois… This is a global phenomenon, including Turkey and China. It’s impossible to predict that a sinkhole at a specific time and at a specific place. — Lewis Land, geologist
How Droughts Can Impact Lakefront Homeowners
Of course, sinkholes aren’t the only thing that can cause a lake to disappear. Droughts are one of the leading reasons lakes will sometimes dry up in a matter of days or weeks.
This California lake ran dry when it served as a freshwater reservoir during a terrible drought:
Thousands of fish died, the area ran low on drinking water, and the beautiful views were gone.
This lake in Louisiana drained because of a sinkhole caused by a mining error:
Imagine what happened to all of those homes along Lake Peigneur. Decades later, things still aren’t the same as they were before the lake disappeared in late 1980.
People who own homes near Lost Lake expect to see their waterfront views disappear each year!
It turns out that a lava tube seasonally sucks water into a ground, but nobody really knows where all that water goes. Don’t believe me? Check out the story:
And watch what happens when these trees are sucked right into a lake. You have to see this video to believe it:
Imagine owning a home near that lake!
How To Lessen The Impact Of Sinkholes
Remember, we can and do have an effect on the types of geologic activity that cause sinkholes to form or lakes to disappear.
These impacts include:
- Over-pumping of wells
- Pumping material (soil, fluids, etc.) into the ground
- New construction activity that causes the ground to vibrate
- Nearby mining activity
- Dam construction, demolition, or other types of damming operations
- Dredging lakes and ponds
- Removing large amounts of water from natural ponds and lakes (via pumping or otherwise)
Also, be sure to contact a geologic monitoring specialist. Your local university or municipality may be able to help you find one.
Geologists can use ground-penetrating radar and other high-tech devices to map, scan, and detect signs of a sinkhole, investigate the cause behind dropping lake or pond water levels, and determine other geologic issues that can affect you and your property.
More About Sinkholes & Disappearing Lakes
- Signs Of A Sinkhole Under Or Near Your Home
- Selling A Home With Sinkhole Damage
- Is It Worth Buying A Repaired Sinkhole Home?
- How Can A Lake Simply Disappear?
- 7 Bizarre Places On Earth Where Water Disappears
- A Florida Sinkhole That You Can Explore: Blue Grotto
I’m a roller coaster junkie, a weather enthusiast, a frequent traveler, and a numismatist. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). I’ve also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, food, and living green… on a budget.