Friday 20 November 2015

Sinkhole swallows car in Jacksonville, Florida.

A parked car was swallowed by a sinkhole in the south Jacksonville community of Mandarin on the morning of Friday 20 November 2015. Nobody was injured in the incident, however nearby buildings were left without water and considerable repair work will be necessary to the road; it is unclear if the car can be salvaged.

The 20 November 2015 Mandarin sinkhole. First Coast News.

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 20 November 2015 Mandarin sinkhole. Google Maps.

Many parts of Florida are particularly prone to sinkholes, due to the porous limestone that underlies much of the state. 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. 

However in this occasion the sinkhole is believed to have been caused by a ruptured water main, which washed away unconsolidated sediments beneath the road, leading to the collapse.

See also... 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...
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...
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