Sinkholes in the News
Florida Sinkholes Making Headlines
What are sinkholes? Sinkholes are geological holes in the ground surface formed by soil erosion and water. Sinkholes in Florida are made by the chemical dissolution of limestone and sandstone. Acidic rain, from standing water or heavy rains, travels downward to the limestone causing a reaction. There are three types of sinkholes that can be formed: collapse, solution or subsidence. Collapse sinkholes appear suddenly, often making the headline news. Florida's ground consist of limestone forming a large cavity underneath the ground surface. As the cavity becomes larger, it can no longer support the weight on top. As a result, it collapse and the sinkhole becomes larger. Solution sinkholes appear slowly from sandy sediments over limestone bedrock. Cracks and voids are unfilled underneath the bedrock by sandy sediments. Groundwater washes away the sediments in the bedrock, creating larger cavities in the ground. Subsidence sinkholes are very similar to solution sinkholes. The only difference is that they contain a thick layer of soil that covers soluble bedrock. When water enters the cavity, it dissolves weak areas of the cavity. The overlying sediment gradually moves downward into the growing cavity, making it larger over time. They often become ponds as water fills into the cavity.
Sinkholes can vary in size ranging from very small to extremely massive. Some sinkholes are large enough to swallow buildings, homes and parking lots. They can be triggered by natural occurrences or human activity.
More on Recent Sinkhole News and Events in Florida
Are all sinkholes really that bad in Florida? Sinkholes are prominent in the state of Florida. The ten most prone counties include: Lake, Orange, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pinellas, Citrus, Polk and Seminole. Florida isn't the only place that havocs sinkholes. They have been reported all over the world including Bolivia, Egypt, Zambia, Russia, Mexico and as far as China.
Despite their dramatic results, they're not as threatening as they look because they are localized. However, there are some warning signs to help you spot sinkhole activity on your property before it becomes a serious issue. Look for the following:
- Neighbors with sinkholes: If your neighbor has had sinkhole activity on his property, you should get an inspection.
- Sidewalk and driveway cracks: Cracks in driveways, foundations, patios and sidewalks around your property could indicate foundation issues.
- Cracks: Diagonal cracks spreading from the corner of the doors and windows could indicate sinkhole activity.
- Hard to open and close doors and windows: Shifting or moving foundations will make it difficult to open and close doors and windows.
- Soft spots in the yard: Spongy or soft spots around your property could indicate a sinking foundation.
Knowing what causes sinkholes is the first step to preventing them. Get the latest sinkhole news and events in Florida from Foundation Professionals of Florida.