Engineer: Rainfall could be cause of possible Holiday sinkhole

The Holiday Travel Mobile Home Park is the scene of what appears to be a sinkhole.

"After a heavy rainfall or additional rainfall, areas like that will have additional collapse," said Dr. Ed Garbin, a geotechnical engineer with EarthTech. He is not surprised another sinkhole opened up at the Holiday Travel Park.

"It's very common and it's all being driven by the amount of rainwater that's being driven through the ground," said Garbin.

Let's do a little science experiment, imagine this is rainwater, which is the No. 1 driver for creating sinkholes. Now imagine these tea bags are sand and imagine this Alka-Seltzer is lime rock. When the rainwater soaks through the sand, which could be tens of dozens of feet before it reaches the lime rock, it absorbs acid from the organic materials in the sand and once that water soaks through and comes in contact with the lime rock it essentially eats away at the lime rock collapsing it creating a sinkhole.

Large hole opens in Pasco mobile home park

"It kind of act like a funnel so the deeper the bottom of that funnel is the wider the top of that funnel is, which is the sinkhole we see," Garbin said.

Just across the street, in the same mobile home park two years ago, a massive sinkhole swallowed a car.

Garbin says not all of Florida is like Pasco and Hernando counties having mostly sand between the limestone and the surface. Some areas have more clay, which creates a different type of sinkhole.


"Instead of getting these sudden dropout type of sinkholes we get sinkholes that form very slowly over time because the clay will slowly start to subside and bend into the void in the limestone bellow and then all the material above the clay just kind of sags with it and you get these depressions that form over a long period of time," Garbin said.

Garbin says a good way to find out if a community is sinkhole-prone before you buy - just talk to neighbors who've been in a community for a long time. They will likely know the history of the area.

More info on sinkholes:

Maps of sinkholes in Florida

Sinkhole swallows man in Seffner

Sinkhole opens at Mosaic plant

Holiday home in danger of falling into sinkhole

Grandmother, boy escape Miami sinkhole

 


 


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