Massive Sinkhole Is Swallowing Homes In Florida

Posted: Jul 22 2017, 1:34pm CDT | by , Updated: Jul 22 2017, 1:37pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Massive Sinkhole is Swallowing Homes in Florida
A house falling into the sinkhole. Courtesy of CNN

The sinkhole is still expanding and threatning to destroy more property

A massive sinkhole has opened up in Land O’Lakes, Florida and is posing a serious threat to local community. The sinkhole has already swallowed two homes, a boat and a portion of road while dozens of more houses around the sinkhole have been deemed unsafe and evacuated.

The sinkhole started out as the size of a small swimming pool on July 14 and now it has grown up to 225 feet wide and 50 feet deep. According to the latest reports, Florida sinkhole is not getting any deeper, but it is getting wider. It is filled with water and debris but no repair and cleanup can be started until the sinkhole stops expanding. In current scenario, it may take several weeks to months before things get back to normal.

Sinkholes form when the ground collapses into the empty space underneath the surface. They mostly emerge in areas where the bedrock is made of easily dissolved sediments such as limestone, carbonate and salt. When water flows below the grounds, it eats them away, leaving behind holes and cavities.

Sinkholes mostly form gradually but they can collapse suddenly too and these sudden sinkholes are the ones that end up swallowing cars, boats, roads and even homes.

Sinkholes are particularly common in Florida, which is resting upon the bedrock of porous limestone. Sinkholes can be triggered by intense groundwater pumping, heavy rain or flooding. According to USGS, Florida has been aggressively pumping out groundwater to ensure water supple of rapidly growing population. The process is destabilizing its limestone bedrock and is resulting in producing sinkholes.

The recent sinkhole has opened up in exactly the same place where a previous sinkhole was formed in 2012. Its foundation was strengthened with steel pins in 2016. While the sinkhole continues to expand, officials are monitoring the cracks around the sinkhole to better assess the situation and prevent further damage. They suspect that the sinkhole may eventually merge with a nearby lake, locating some 200 feet away.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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