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The Impact of Sinkholes

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Amazing what happens on our planet. History is full of events, some even scary like sinkholes.

Basics of Sinkhole

Basics of Sinkhole

Sinkhole Under House

Sinkhole Under House

Zacaton Sinkhole Deepest in World

Zacaton Sinkhole Deepest in World

When sinkholes appear in urban areas, the result is a partial or complete collapse of overground structures or damage to the infrastructure resulting in high economic losses, evacuations, displacement of residents, and in some cases, loss of life. In the United States alone, over 300 million dollars in property damage.

Water collected underground without external drainage erodes the bedrock forming a cavern or 'karst. The ground we walk on and build on collapses. ISo t are geoscientists who study sinkholes, while NASA scientists use radar technology to predict sinkholes.

In the United States, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania. Florida is especially prone. Florida is built on the bedrock of carbonate; limestone, so the rock dissolves in rainwater where it becomes 'acidic' and forms a honeycomb of cavities. As it becomes too big to support the ceiling, it collapses. The trigger of sinkholes is water, too much or too little.

It isn't just nature-causing sinkholes. Human activity includes broken sewer lines, drain pipes, improperly compacted soil after excavations, buried trash, logs, or debris. And man's constant need to build and build and make more roads and parking lots.

In the last fifteen years, in the U.S. alone property damage from sinkholes topped 300 million.


Florida Sinkholes

Florida Sinkholes

Facts of Sinkholes Worldwide

The worlds deadliest is found in the Cave of Swallows, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The deepest is the Zacaton. No one has ever reached the bottom, although attempts have been made. In 1983, Dr. Ann Kristovich dove down 554 feet, and in 1994, explorer diver Jim Bowden dove 925 feet, and Mr. Exley dove over 880 feet. Unfortunately, Exley died on his attempt.

The Great Blue Hole is found off the coast of Belize and is 984 feet across, 407 feet deep, and scientists believe it to be 153,000 years old. And the Guatemalan gave way in 2007 with no warning swallowing fifteen people. It is 300 feet deep and 60 feet wide.

The deepest sinkhole in Florida is Winterpark. It is 380 feet wide and 75 feet deep. The oldest sinkhole in Florida is Sheelar Lake found at Gold Head Branch State Park and is thought to be over 23,000 years old. The park is located at 6239 State Rt 21, 352-473-4701.

Blue Hole Sinkhole, Belize

Blue Hole Sinkhole, Belize

Guatomalan, Mexico

Guatomalan, Mexico

Insurance Against Sinkholes and Prevention

In Florida, it is required to provide homeowners insurance that includes damage from "catastrophic ground cover damage and to offer sinkhole coverage. In addition, any suspected sinkhole damages must be confirmed, requiring geological and engineering experts.

Some warning signs of sinkholes:

  • cracks in the interior walls
  • cracks on the outside walls
  • depressions in the ground
  • trees and fence posts tilting or falling
  • door or windows difficult to open or close

There is an area in Florida called "sinkhole alley," which includes Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pinellas, Citrus, Polk, and Orange. The latest sinkhole found in Florida is in Pasco County, New Port Richey. It is 50 feet wide and 140 feet wide. The largest sinkhole in the U.S. is the Golly Hole, central Alabama. It is 325 feet long, 300 feet wide, and 120 feet deep.

It is not always apparent to know when a sinkhole may appear. They seem to happen suddenly, but if we are vigilant around our property, it may be possible to be cautious and have an expert check out your property.

Golly Hole Calera Alabama

Golly Hole Calera Alabama

Sources Used

floridastateparks.org

usgs.gov

nasa.govnhess.copernoicus.org

earthtech.com

Comments

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 29, 2021:

John, thanks for visiting. They are scary, aren't they?

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 29, 2021:

This is a very interesting article, Fran. It amazes me the depth and overall size of some of these sinkholes.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 29, 2021:

Thanks, Pamela, Stay safe and well.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 29, 2021:

This is an interesting article, Fran. I live in northern FL and I don't think we have any sinkholes here, at least I hope not. This article has some very good information. Thank you for writing.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 29, 2021:

Rosina, thanks for your visit. I agree with your comments.

Rosina S Khan on June 28, 2021:

While sinkholes may be interesting to read, they are actually very scary. On top of that, they are not only caused by nature but also by man, which makes them even more dangerous. I wasn't aware of sinkholes before. Thank you for this informative article, Fran.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 28, 2021:

This is a fascinating, but also an alarming article. In the UK we have had holes open up, but on a much smaller scale than this.

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