Geologists to study sink holes starting this fall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's a problem the state's geologist plan to start investigating this fall. The good news is our dirt underneath the surface is different here in Jacksonville so we're less likely to see massive sink holes.

Heather Miller saw, for the first time, the nearly 100 foot wide sinkhole that nearly swallow this portions of this three story vacation resort villa in Clermont Florida overnight.

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"I can't imagine what I would do If I were any of those families," Miller said. "My children my pets my belongings. Just horrible."

"Seeing that..yeah. That would not be a good thing for Jacksonville," Craig Lockwood said.

The good news is geologists say it very unlikely to see these types of sinkholes in the Jacksonville area because our top soil is thicker and more secure.

"Jacksonville has more clay underground than other areas so it makes it less vulnerable to sink holes than the rest of the state," Clint Kromhout said.

Kromhout is with Florida Geological Survey. He says areas where we've seen past sink holes have limestone closer to the surface , which can easily dissolve and cause cavity or the ground to become hollow.

Kromhout says you can blame a lot of recent sinkhole formations from heavy rains from recent tropical storms.

The sinkholes have encouraged Geologists to conduct a three year study on Florida's vulnerability to the problem thanks to a 1.1 million dollar federal grant.

Hamilton County, Columbia County, and Suwannee County are the three areas the geologists their will be focusing on in the first year of research.

"We'll be collecting information on soils, aquifer water levels, stream shapes and sizes," Kromhou said. "Their patterns and a whole host of things that will indicate what an area's vulnerability is to sink hole formation might be."