Welcome to Sinkhole Season

In Residential Blog Posts by John Topa


Having lived a part of my life in California, I was quite aware that some areas of the state, along the San Andreas Fault, would be more prone to earthquakes. Sinkholes are completely different geologically, but they too will sometimes form along a path of weakness underground. Once a sinkhole forms in a certain area, there is a strong possibility that more will appear just a few miles away. An article in the Tampa Bay Times, refers to this as a “fracture line” that connects many of sinkhole incidences together.

With the summer rains and tropical storms now upon us, the number of sinkholes has increased. We live, quite literally, on top of what was once an ocean floor, now a beautifully eerie underground landscape dotted by limestone caves. All that summer rain must go somewhere — part of it disappears into streams and springs, but a portion of it absorbed by the earth, making the ground heavy. In some cases, a clay layer is what covers a cavity under ground. That layer is often called a “bridge.” Once the weight of wet soils above ground is too much to bear, the bridge, or roof of a limestone cave, collapses — forming a string of sinkholes.

There is no point in worrying about where sinkholes will form, they’re unpredictable — all we know is that the geology of certain parts of Florida make them more likely to form. We really can’t prevent them from occurring either, even though there is evidence that some human activities can trigger them.

If you’re a homeowner, the best advice during our rainy “sinkhole season” is to be watchful. If you see damage to your house that wasn’t there before, have an expert take a look. If sinkholes are appearing in your neighborhood, talk to your neighbors and learn from them. Sinkholes are part of living in Florida. Being knowledgeable about them is your best defense.

If you have questions, call the professionals at Helicon. At Helicon, we keep our promises. For more information, call us today at 813-567-1065.