This map feature depicts the locations of reported subsidence areas and sinkholes throughout the state of Florida. The data displayed was developed by the most recent 2007 Florida Geological Survey. Note that since only reported sinkholes are depicted, it is merely a partial inventory of those that have occurred throughout the state. Sinkholes that form outside of major population centers frequently go unreported. Some of the points presented may have actually been mistaken for sinkholes by the property owner who reported them. As such, some points may represent subsidence phenomena such as collapsed septic systems, water mains, and other manmade features. In order to be declared a true sinkhole a detailed geotechnical examination must be performed by certified professional geologist or other applicable professional. Most of the sites have not been had these detailed examination performed and their 'sinkhole' status should therefore remain suspect.
Essentially, sinkholes are large depressions in the ground's surface; they may occur gradually over a period of months or extremely rapidly as the ground's surface collapses. Sinkholes occur naturally as a result of interactions between surface water, groundwater and Florida's porous bedrock. The limestone rock just beneath the ground's surface is naturally riddled with fractures, fissures, cavities, tunnels and even full blown caves. Over time, water made slightly acidic by Florida's soil seeps down into the alkaline limestone and slowly dissolves it. As the water eats away at the rock new fissures are formed and existing ones become larger. In some places where the limestone is unstable or where large amounts of the rock have dissolved away, the ground can give way since it is no longer supported from below. The result is a sinkhole.
There are actually several types of sinkholes. Some occur extremely rapidly as the limestone roofs of underground caves collapse (these are exceptionally rare however). Much more commonly, sinkholes start out as small depressions in the ground which enlarge gradually over a period of months or years. These sinkholes occur when surface soil settles into a slowly enlarging underground void. Over time, more and more soil falls into the underground cave, gradually lowering the ground's surface. A third type of sinkhole manifests when the sandy soil above the underground cavern gives way and collapses into it. This is different from the first type described because the ground is made up only of sand and clay, not limestone. The third type of sinkhole occurs when sediment blocking a hole in the cave's roof finally falls inward. This removes the "plug" and all of the sand above drains into the cavern sort of like sand falling through an hourglass. The result is a funnel-shaped hole in the ground.
While sinkholes are scary to most homebuyers, the good news is that having one in close proximity to your home doesn't necessarily mean that another one will open up underneath your driveway. The limestone geology of Florida is quite varied meaning that underground caverns and fissures are common, but unevenly distributed. A sinkhole might open up half a mile away from your house while the limestone supporting your particular neighborhood is solid and poses no sinkhole risk whatsoever. On the other hand, even if there is a complete absence of sinkholes in your community, it's not a guarantee that you'll be safe. The best way to use this map feature is to look at it regionally. If you see a lot of sinkholes in your area, it's probably more likely that one will occur there somewhere because the presence of sinkholes indicates that underlying limestone is unstable. Unfortunately it's extremely difficult to determine where exactly a sinkhole might open up; even for professionals, predicting where a sinkhole will occur is exceptionally tough. If you don't see any sinkholes in your area, it's probably less likely that one will open up, but it's not impossible.
MoversAtlas helps you find out everything you need to know about Florida. At MoversAtlas we understand that deciding where to live is an extremely important and often difficult decision. If you’re not familiar with Florida it can be tough to figure out where exactly within Florida you would like to live. We make the process easier by supplying information about communities and neighborhoods throughout Florida. Use our MoveMap to locate community amenities such as daycares, schools and churches in Florida. Make sure you look for environmental hazards like flood zones, waste sites and sinkholes within Florida as well. Whether you’re buying a single-family house, condominium, townhouse or just renting, MoversAtlas helps you fully understand the community around your new Florida home.
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