Why does Florida have so many sinkholes?

With the ever-present threat of sinkholes for Florida’s property owners, it’s reasonable to ask why there are so many sinkholes in Florida as opposed to any other state. To understand the answer to this question, one must understand what causes sinkholes in the first place. Why does Florida have so many sinkholes?

What makes a sinkhole?

Sinkholes occur when water seeps into the ground with no exit route. If there are no pipes or any other kinds of plumbing meant to send water into a pond or other mass of water, water that stays in the ground becomes acidic, eating away at the soil around it. As time goes on and more water eats away at more soil, the top layer of soil eventually collapses into this water and creates a sinkhole.

This can occur both naturally and unnaturally – by heavy rains falling and having nowhere else to go, and by us pumping water for our own use, or diverting it into unnatural patterns. As long as this water is not provided somewhere to go, it can spend decades dissolving the soil that keeps our homes and businesses upright.

Why does Florida have so many sinkholes?

Now that we know how sinkholes are formed, we can dive into why Florida has so many sinkholes. Because sinkholes are formed by water,  it is only natural to assume that the prevalence of sinkholes in Florida is caused by the sheer amount of water found in, around, and on our land. This assumption is correct.

However, even with all of the water we Floridian’s experience in our environment, there is one major driving force in our weather that really accelerates these sinkholes: hurricanes. When the land is put under pressure by heavy rainfall and the water just sits in the soil, it’s only natural that the land buckles underneath us. The more hurricanes we experience, the more water under the soil, the more sinkholes we experience.

Therefore, why does Florida have so many sinkholes? Florida has so many sinkholes because our land contains significantly more water than most other states. Over time, this water becomes acidic and eats through more and more land until the top layer of soil buckles under the weight of itself and any buildings we’ve built on top of it.

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