Sinkholes are commonplace in Florida. The porousness of the earth and the myriad underground rivers and streams are the major source of the sinkholes. During times of drought the ground water in the aquifers sometimes drops to levels that create openings into which the soil above ground begins to collapse. This collapse of the soil creates the sinkholes. Sometimes the collapse is gradual and slow. Other times it is rapid and the hole increases in size at great speed. When the sinkhole is created beneath a roadway or housing development often they will cause great damage. Entire houses have been swallowed up by sinkholes.

The sinkhole on the right is small, as indicated by the graphic rule. It could develop into a large hole in a short time or it could cease its development. In unpopulated areas sinkholes are usually allowed to continue until they no longer increase in size. In areas where life or property are threatened attempts are usually made to reduce the impact of the sinkhole by either filling with soil or other materials. Engineers must examine the sinkhole and determine the most appropriate method to attempt to control it. The picures below indicate sinkholes of larger size.


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