At Least A Dozen Sinkholes Force Evacuations In Florida Neighborhood

Sunday, May 6th 2018, 9:24 am
By: News On 6

At least a dozen sinkholes have opened up in a central Florida subdivision over the past week, enough to drain an entire retention pond and force the evacuation of eight nearby homes as a precaution.

"We've been dealing with so much, scared to death to lose our house right now," said one neighbor in Ocala.

Crews are using underground radar that penetrates 80 to 100 feet down to figure out a fix.

"It gets bigger every day.  How far is this going to get, how big is it going to get, and nobody is telling us anything," said Christina Carter, who moved to the area from Vermont last summer.

People who live in the community started to notice something strange last week -- what one resident called "water explosions" in a now-drained pond.

Ocala sits in a part of Florida known as "sinkhole alley," and it all has to do with what lies beneath.  It's a porous layer of limestone that groundwater can break down over time, causing the clay and dirt to give way and anything above to collapse.

"The soils and rocks have been there for millions of years," said David Wilshaw, a geologist.  "It's just that the development has come into the area.  What was previously just open pasture land is now heavily developed subdivision."

A worst-case scenario is that the sinkholes keep losing ground to the aquifer below, leaving open the possibility that they could continue to grow and eventually merge.

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