The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Thursday, 27 July 2017 01:00

Large sinkhole opens up in Florida

Large sinkhole opens up in Florida Credits: Luis Santana/AP

The sinkhole begun to form on Friday, July 14, 2017, in the Pasco County's Land O' Lakes community near Tampa, western Florida and has already swallowed two houses.

Although the sinkhole does not appear to get any deeper, it's getting wider, according to what officials stated. It is now about 235 feet (72 meters) wide and 50 feet (15 meters) deep, almost 10 feet deeper than it was a few days ago. It's the largest sinkhole formed in Pasco County in at least three decades.

Authorities forced the evacuation of several houses in Land O' Lakes since Friday and people were urged to stay away from the neighborhood. The sinkhole is full of water, and it's not draining because of debris, according to Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County's assistant administrator for public safety. It also looks like it's full of household chemicals and septic tank parts.

The edges of the sinkhole are now caving in because there's no support for the sandy soil as it dries out, officials said. As the water line in the sinkhole goes down, the sand on the right-angled banks can't support the weight of the ground and it's giving away. Engineers believe the solution lies in getting dirt into the area as soon as possible to create a sloping bank with support that can keep the edges of the sinkhole from falling in, Mr. Guthrie stated. According to the Sheriff, Chris Nocco, a fence will be built around the affected houses, and roads will be closed around the area.

The cause of the sinkhole is not yet clarified. Sinkholes often form when acidic rainwater dissolves limestone or similar rock beneath the soil, leaving a large void that collapses when it's no longer able to support the weight of what's above it. Sinkholes are particularly common in Florida, which rests on a nearly unbroken bed of limestone, according to the Florida Sinkhole Research Institute. They often develop in Central Florida, including the Tampa area.

Sources: CNN, Abc NEWS

Read 727 times Last modified on Thursday, 27 July 2017 13:40

The News Center is being funded by our Annual Corporate Sponsors " (learn more):

The Corporate Sponsors: