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What Should You Know About Florida Sinkholes?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2015 | Sinkhole

Do you have enough information about sinkholes in Florida? These geological events can cause serious property destruction for homeowners throughout the state, and in rare cases can result in severe injuries and death. What do you need to know in order to keep your home safe from sinkhole damage? According to a report from NBC News 8, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Geological Survey provides all the information you need to know.

After you learn the facts, it’s essential to know the signs of an sinkhole. If you notice indications early enough, you can prevent substantial property damage.

Important Geological Facts About Sinkholes

If you don’t have a background in natural sciences, the mere existence of a sinkhole can be a scary prospect. At the same time, knowing just a little bit more about why they exist and how they form can help you to have a better understanding of why your home could be at risk of sinkhole damage. Here are some of the key facts that the Florida Geological Survey thinks you should be aware of:

● Sinkholes are “a natural and common feature of Florida’s landscape.” In other words, sinkholes are naturally occurring geological events that aren’t caused by construction or other manmade events. Rather, they’re a type of karst landform. Other karst landforms include caves, hot springs, underground aquifers, and disappearing streams. Given that many of Florida’s sinkholes are connected to lakes and springs in our state, those sinkholes won’t pose any risk to homeowners in Central Florida.

● Limestone is a key element in sinkhole formation, and “the entire state of Florida sits on top of several thousand feet of limestone.” The natural makeup of limestone is such that it easily gives way to sinkholes. Limestone often forms with void spaces, and when those spaces are connected, they make the rock permeable or porous. In most cases, porous or permeable limestone isn’t a problem, and it can even be useful in providing drinking water or agricultural water supplies. However, “naturally acidic groundwater,” which exists throughout Florida, can dissolve limestone bedrock. When limestone dissolves, sinkholes form. A “sinkhole” refers to the holes or underground voids in the rock, rather than visible patch in your yard, for instance.

● Three different types of sinkholes exist. All three types exist in Florida. Solution sinkholes and cover-subsidence sinkholes don’t tend to have evidence that’s visible to the naked eye. Cover-collapse sinkholes, however-the third type of sinkhole-are most commonly associated with property damage in our state. These sinkholes show “an abrupt change in topography.”

Identifying Signs and Symptoms of a Sinkhole

Now that you know how sinkholes form, you can have a better understanding of the signs of impending damage. According to Weatherbug.com, common sinkhole warning signs include but are not limited to the following:

● Freshly exposed areas around trees or fence posts (areas where the ground is literally sinking around them);

● Slumping, sagging, and/or slanting trees, fence posts, or other objects in your hard;

● Windows or doors that won’t close properly;

● Windows or doors that show a change in their behavior (like a door that previously closed on its own but now stays open);

● Rainwater collecting in areas where it didn’t previously do so;

● Wilting in circular areas of vegetation;

● Cloudy water (water with sediment); and

● Cracks in your walls, floors, pavement, or other ground surfaces.

If you suspect that a sinkhole caused damage to your home, it’s important to discuss your sinkhole insurance claim with an experienced Brandon property insurance attorney. Contact the Valrico Law Group to learn more about how we can assist you with your case.