New Florida Sinkhole Causes Evacuation: How Do Sinkholes Form? [VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on March 25, 2013 11:10 AM EDT

sinkhole
New Florida sinkhole at Lake Shore Ranch Drive is less than two miles from the deadly sinkhole that took the life of Jeff Bush last month. (Photo: YouTube / LatestNewsNetwork)

A new Florida sinkhole opened up right in between two homes on the 1400 block of Lake Shore Ranch Drive around 7 p.m. Saturday. Alarmingly, the new sinkhole is located merely two miles away from the 20-foot deep sinkhole that killed Jeff Bush in his sleep in the same town of Seffner, Florida. The new Florida sinkhole appeared just a month after Jeff Bush's freak incident.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Damico told the Miami Herald that the new Florida sinkhole measured 8 feet wide and 10 feet deep sinkhole. The sinkhole managed to open up between two homes. Residents of the homes were evacuated as a safety precaution.

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According to NBC News, the new Florida sinkhole was discovered by an 11-year-old girl, Gabriella Pazmino. Gabriella was by an ice cream truck with her friends when she took a closer look at a hole in the ground. She alerted her father who then alerted authorities.

So far, the sinkhole has not caused any injuries or structural damage to the homes nearby. However, the residents grow worried that their home is next.

A dangerous phenomena, there are many factors that attribute to the forming of sinkholes. According to experts, sinkholes are formed from a combination of natural factors including weather and moisture as well as man-made factors like wells and plumbing.

According to State Geologist Jonathan Arthur, February is usually the driest month in Florida for the year. However, February is also followed by a rainy season. Acidic rain can significantly eat away at limestone to cause natural caverns underneath the state.

"An extensive drought can cause soil and sediment over a cavity to be extremely dry and collapse," said Arthur, indicating the other face of the coin.

But it's also the weather -- along with man-made factors -- that exacerbate sinkholes, experts said.

Arthur said February is usually when the state is at its driest, but it's also the start of the rainy season. Acidic rain can, over time, eat away the limestone and natural caverns that lie under much of the state, causing sinkholes. Both extremely dry weather and very wet weather can trigger sinkholes, he said.

"An extensive drought can cause soil and sediment over a cavity to be extremely dry and collapse," said Arthur.

Florida's Hillsborough, the county where Jeff Bush was killed, is an area that is particularly susceptible to sinkholes. Unfortunately, engineers and county officials have yet to determine exactly why the sinkhole formed and. What's more, experts are convinced that they will likely never know.

"There are a lot of variables," said Arthur. "Sinkholes are naturally occurring. Regardless of human activity they would occur."

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