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Florida Sinkholes

Science and Policy

Robert Brinkmann

Publication Year: 2013

Below the live oaks, palm trees, cypress swamps, and springs, water is slowly wearing away the limestone bedrock of Florida. The erosion is often unseen, and over time it can result in shocking cave-ins like the destructive spectacle of the 1981 Winter Park sinkhole.

Florida Sinkholes--the first comprehensive book on the subject--is an easy-to-follow guide to understanding how sinkholes form and what to do about Florida's sometimes pockmarked landscape. City planners, construction managers, developers, and homeowners alike will find this book invaluable because of the heavy impact and increasing frequency of sinkhole formation in the state. Amateur geologists will be fascinated by the subtle forces of nature that can make solid rock disappear. Tackling the problem of sinkholes in useful detail, this book packs an abundance of sound scientific fact into frank, readable language.

Learn about the captivating workings of karst, a term for the swiss cheese-like formations of soluble rock that underlie the peninsula. Discover current state-of-the-art approaches to mapping sinkholes and subsurface voids. Review such practical concerns as structural damage, repairs, insurance problems, and management of karst lands. Examine case studies of several notable sinkholes and sinkhole events. Even before you've finished reading, you may find yourself itching to get out and visit these intriguing marvels of Florida geology for yourself.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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1. Sinkholes in Florida: An Introduction

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pp. 1-18

In the winter of 2013 a horrific sinkhole took the life of Jeffrey Bush in Seffner, Florida. He was resting in bed when the ground collapsed under his bedroom. His family rushed in to find just a mattress remaining in the hole where his room once was. Jeffrey was gone forever. One minute he was a vibrant, living human being, and in an instant the earth gave way. This tragedy ...

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2. Sinkhole Formation

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pp. 19-30

The formation of sinkholes in Florida is a common phenomenon brought about because of collapsing void space in the subsurface. But what causes the voids? What causes the collapse? And what is the subsurface like in Florida? These questions are the focus of this chapter. None of them can be answered effectively without reviewing some of the fundamental concepts ...

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3. Geologic Setting and Urban Sinkholes

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pp. 31-71

When examining the hydrology of Florida, one is struck by its vast number of lakes and wetlands, particularly in the peninsula. The distribution, size, and orientation of these bodies of water reveal a great deal about the geologic history of Florida and the formation of the state's karst terrain. Most of these lakes and wetlands are sinkholes and have their origins in the dissolution of ...

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4. Sinkholes in the Ridges and in North and South Florida

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pp. 72-106

After reviewing the geologic setting of sinkholes across the state with a discussion of urban sinkholes near Tampa and Orlando in the previous chapter, I turn here to some of the other sinkhole regions in the state, particularly sinkholes on the ridges and in north and south Florida....

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5. Notable Sinkholes

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pp. 107-133

Florida is home to many unusual or significant sinkhole, but several stand out. The Winter Park Sinkhole, which originally extended 300 meters in diameter, is certainly the largest and most dramatic of the recent sinkholes. It exemplifies the power of karst processes in our landscape and points to the tremendous void space in the bedrock under our feet. Another sinkhole, ...

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6. Detection and Mapping

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pp. 134-159

People are naturally afraid of sinkholes. This is partly a result of the uncertain-ties surrounding sinkhole insurance and sinkhole policy. For a few people, though, this fear borders on "sinkhole phobia." They are terrified the earth will swallow their home whole, sucking loved ones and possessions into the underworld after it. While catastrophic sinkholes do happen from time to ...

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7. Sinkhole Policy

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pp. 160-193

Sinkholes are vexing features on the modern landscape (Zhou and Beck 2007). When they form, they can cause considerable damage to our property and infrastructure, leaving us with damages, repairs, and a sense of unease about our firmament (Quinlan 2007). In June 2001, Raymond Kelly of Lutz lost his sense of comfort about the stability of his property. After a loud crash, he found that ...

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8. Evaluations and Repairs

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pp. 194-216

Over the years I have fielded many questions from the public about sinkholes. Often, a caller or visitor has just found out that their home has in some way been damaged by a sinkhole and they are nearly in a panic. They don't know what to do and they don't know where to begin the process of repairs. They also don't know whether or not to make an insurance claim because they ...

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9. Conclusions

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pp. 217-224

I hope I have demonstrated the importance of understanding Florida sink-holes from a science and policy perspective. The landscape of Florida is truly unique in the world. Nowhere else is such a vast area affected by sinkholes and other karst processes. Many Floridians are exposed to sinkholes as the cause of personal or community property damage or by working on...


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pp. 225-236


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pp. 237-243

About the Author

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pp. 244-244

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048635
E-ISBN-10: 081304863X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813044958

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 3 tables, 40 illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 864551596
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Florida Sinkholes

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Geology -- Florida.
  • Hydrology, Karst -- Florida.
  • Subsidences (Earth movements) -- Florida.
  • Sinkholes -- Florida.
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