Four families have been evacuated after a sinkhole opened up on a mobile home park near Moon Lake in Pasco County, Florida, on Sunday 24 June 2018. The sinkhole, which measures about five metres across and is about five metres deep, was discovered straddling the yards of two properties in the Caribbean Estates mobile home park, resulting in an evacuation order being put into place fro six properties as a precaution, though one of these is currently unoccupied and the owners of a second appear to be away.
Sinkhole in a mobile home park in Pasco County, Florida, on Monday 25 June 2018. Jack Evans/Tampa Bay Times.
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 24 June 2018 Pasco County 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.
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