Floral City natives should be aware of the potential risk of a sinkhole, which can damage or destroy your home, causing injury or worse to you and your loved ones. So what causes a sinkhole? And how can you determine if a sinkhole is going to form?
The Causes of a Sinkhole
Floral City and other Florida residents are more prone to sinkholes than residents in some other areas of the country due to the fact that the entire state is situated atop a limestone bedrock. Limestone is a fairly soft stone that dissolves when exposed to mild acids, including those that are found in acid rain and occur naturally in the soil.
Over time, groundwater percolates down through the soil, reaching the bedrock where it dissolves the stone. Underground water flows can have a similar impact on the bedrock. Over time, a cavity or void can form in the stone. If the weight placed atop the void exceeds what the ceiling of the cavity can support, it will collapse, forming a sinkhole and swallowing whatever lies atop.
Can You Detect and Prevent a Sinkhole?
Floral City residents often ask about whether you can detect and prevent a sinkhole and it is possible to both identify and reduce the chances that a sinkhole will form. Underground voids can be detected in a number of ways. One of the first signs will be a change in the ground; typically, a depression will form and a portion of your home may begin to sink, resulting in cracking in the walls and foundation.
The underground voids that form sinkholes can be found using ground penetrating radar and using geotechnical drilling. Geotechnical drilling involves extracting a core sample — a vertical column of earth. The void becomes apparent during the drilling process and when the core sample is extracted.
Once a sinkhole is located, it can be pumped full of concrete to prevent a collapse. This is really only viable for small or medium sized void.
Some voids can be extremely large — the size of an entire city block or larger — and in these cases, it’s typically impractical to fill the void. In this case, any overlaying structures can be reinforced using massive metal “pins” that are driven down into the bedrock and affixed to the foundation of the home or other building. These “pins” offer reinforcement to the structure so even if the ground falls away, the structure will remain stable and intact.
*Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of *Sinkhole Titan*