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
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
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