Saturday, 31 October 2015

Homes evacuated after sinkhole appears in Seffner, Florida.

Two homes in the town of Seffner in Hillsborough County, Florida, have been evacuated after a sinkhole appeared between them on Friday 30 October 2015. The hole measures 6.7 m across and is estimated to be 8 m deep. Nobody was injured in the incident, and the homes have been evacuated purely as a precaution while the hole is investigated.

Sinkhole which appeared between two homes in Seffner, Florida on 30 October 2015. WFTS.

Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace.

The approximate location of the 30 October 2015 Seffner sinkhole. Google Maps.

Southwest Florida is particularly prone to sinkholes, due to the porous limestone that underlies much of the area. This is eroded over time by acid in rainwater (most rainwater is slightly acidic, though pollution can make this worse), and can collapse suddenly, causing overlying sediments to collapse into the hole and a sinkhole to open up. This can be triggered by human activity, such as pumping water out (which causes the water to flow, facilitating acid dissolution of the limestone), but is essentially a natural process. 

See also...

Two homes have been destroyed and a further four evacuated after a sinkhole opened up in Dunedin in Pinellas County, Florida on Thursday 14 November 2013. The hole first appeared early in the morning...

A three story holiday villa at a resort in Lake County, Florida, has partially collapsed into a sinkhole described as between 12 and 15 meters wide. The 24 unit building at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, roughly 16 km to the west of Disney World, was evacuated at about 11.30 pm local time on Sunday 11 August...

Around 11.00 pm local time on Thursday 27 February 2013, the family of Florida man Jeff Bush heard a loud crash followed by screaming from his bedroom, in Faithway Drive, Seffner near Tampa. His brother, Jeremy, rushed into the room to find the a...

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