New Grant Money Targets Sinkholes In Florida

By: Garin Flowers Email
By: Garin Flowers Email

Some are small. Some are really, really big.

Geologists say sinkholes aren't a new phenomenon, but with several recent high profile incidents in Florida, they are causing mass concern.

"Florida is underlain by limestone throughout the state and this limestone can dissolve and that's what can help promote the formation of sinkholes - which can damage infrastructure, they can damage homes, sinkholes can take lives," said Dr. Jonathan Arthur, a state geologist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Arthur helped in an effort that led to the DEP winning a grant for $1.1 million to study sinkhole vulnerability in Florida.

"That will give people the information they need to know whether or not they should be a little more aware of that potential in their area," he said.

From Live Oak to Tampa to Miami, they've popped up all over the state.

In North Florida, Tropical Storm Debby from last year triggered the formation of hundreds of sinkholes.

"It is important to have some kind of tool, some kind of resource to help us predict where these things are more likely to occur," Arthur said.

This three-year project begins with geologists studying Suwannee, Hamilton and Columbia counties for the first year before surveying the rest of the state.

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