Facts about sinkholes in Florida - WNCN: News, Weather

Facts about sinkholes in Florida

Posted: Updated:
© Corelogic © Corelogic
© Courtesy: Florida Geological Society © Courtesy: Florida Geological Society
TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLA) -

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Geological Survey has compiled the following information to provide a single point source for general knowledge about the nature of sinkholes in the state of Florida and additional information about proper protocol should you ever encounter a sinkhole in an urban area.

Facts about sinkholes inFlorida:

-The entire state of Florida sits on top of several thousand feet of limestone. Limestone is a rock that can form with natural void spaces called porosity.  In limestone where the void spaces are connected, the rock is permeable. Porous and permeable limestone makes great aquifers and provide millions of gallons of fresh drinking water for residents and agriculture. The most significant factor in the development of sinkholes is the dissolution of the limestone underlying Florida by naturally acidic groundwater.

-Sinkholes are a natural and common feature of Florida's landscape. They are only one of many kinds of karst landforms, which include depressions, caves (both air and water filled), disappearing streams, springs and underground aquifer systems, all of which occur in Florida. Thousands of naturally occurring sinkholes can be seen throughout the state of Florida including many that connect underground to springs, rivers and lakes.

-Sinkholes form in karst terrain from the collapse of surface sediments into underground voids. In Florida one may see solution sinkholes, cover-subsidence sinkholes or cover-collapse sinkholes. The first two types will show very little topographical disturbance to the naked eye, while the third is the type which shows a abrupt change in topography and is most associated with the thought of sinkholes.

Questions about sinkholes in urban and suburban environments:

-My yard is settling... Do I have a sinkhole? Maybe. But a number of other factors can cause holes, depressions or subsidence of the ground surface. Expansive clay layers in the earth may shrink upon drying, buried organic material, poorly-compacted soil after excavation work, buried trash or logs and broken pipes all may cause depressions to form at the ground surface. These settling events, when not verified as true sinkholes by professionals, are collectively called "subsidence incidents." If the settling is affecting a dwelling, further testing by a licensed engineer with a licensed geologist on staff or a licensed geology firm may be in order. Property insurance may pay for testing, but in many cases insurance may not cover damage from settling due to causes other than sinkholes.

-A sinkhole opened in my neigborhood... should I be concerned? Although sinkholes in Florida sometimes occur in sets, most are isolated events. The bedrock underlying the state is honeycombed with cavities of varying size, most of which will not collapse in our lifetimes. A quick inspection of your property for any sinking or soft areas might be prudent. Unless the sinkhole is very large, and extends to your property, there's likely to be little reason for concern.

Should a sinkhole open in an area near you the hole should be immediately cordoned off and clearly marked to protect traffic. Contact local law enforcement to report the hazard and call your city or county road department to initiate repair work. If the road is private, repair of the hole is usually the responsibility of the landowner or property owners' association.

-Is there a safe area of Florida where there is no chance of sinkholes? Technically, no. Since the entire state is underlain by carbonate rocks, sinkholes could theoretically form anywhere. However, there are definite regions where sinkhole risk is considerably higher. In general, areas of the state where limestone is close to surface, or areas with deeper limestone but with a conducive configuration of water table elevation, stratigraphy, and aquifer characteristics have increased sinkhole activity.

In an effort to assist the state residents are encouraged to report sinkhole information by filling out a subsidence incident report form on the Department's website and submit the completed copy to the FAGS. This website also contains information on sinkholes and how they form.

Source: Florida Geological Society

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • Pedestrian hit on U.S. 19 in Pasco County

    Pedestrian hit on U.S. 19 in Pasco County

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:53:50 GMT
    A pedestrian was hit while walking west on US Highway 19 south of Fivay Road Saturday night. A 2008 Chevy Cobalt driven by Mikola D. Batov of Hudson was traveling north on U.S. 19 in the center lane, approaching Fivay Road shortly before 10 p.m....
    A pedestrian was hit while walking west on US Highway 19 south of Fivay Road Saturday night. A 2008 Chevy Cobalt driven by Mikola D. Batov of Hudson was traveling north on U.S. 19 in the center lane, approaching Fivay Road shortly before 10 p.m....
  • Coast Guard rescues 3 from sinking vessel

    Coast Guard rescues 3 from sinking vessel

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:33:04 GMT
    Three adults were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard crew after their 37-foot boat began taking on water eight miles west of Bean Point on Anna Maria Island Sunday.About 3:50 p.m Sunday, officials at the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were notified via a marine band radio about a boat taking on water from a six-inch hole in the hull....
    ?Three adults were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard crew after their 37-foot boat began taking on water eight miles west of Bean Point on Anna Maria Island Sunday.About 3:50 p.m Sunday, officials at the Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg were notified via a marine band radio about a boat taking on water from a six-inch hole in the hull....
  • Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:31:45 GMT
    Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. Divers and emergency personnel from the St. Petersburg police, U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were on the scene of the crash that occurred in the water about 3 p.m. Sunday.. ...
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. Divers and emergency personnel from the St. Petersburg police, U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were on the scene of the crash that occurred in the water about 3 p.m. Sunday.. ...

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:42:52 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
  • Home improvements that really pay off

    Home improvements that really pay off

    Saturday, July 19 2014 6:30 AM EDT2014-07-19 10:30:09 GMT
    Despite what you see on TV and what the conventional wisdom says, most of the home improvement projects with the greatest return on investment are unglamorous.
    Despite what you see on TV and what the conventional wisdom says, most of the home improvement projects with the greatest return on investment are unglamorous.
  • Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 18 - 23

    Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 18 - 23

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:58:28 GMT
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants?
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants?
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.