A dozen sinkholes have opened up in a Florida city, forcing eight homes to be evacuated and prompting fears from other residents they will be the next to leave.
The holes began appearing around a retention pond in the Wynchase neighborhood of Ocala on the night of April 25, and have carried on appearing over the last two weeks for a currently unknown reason.
‘They just keep coming,’ local resident Maren Pinder told WFTV. ‘Are we safe? We don’t know. It’s really scary. We just have a bag ready in case we are told to evacuate.’
By this Tuesday there were 12, and they are beginning to move nearer to houses, according to local man Eddie Betaseourt.
The Ocala Fire Rescue department said on Wednesday they thought the holes were linked to a ‘water main break’, but the collapses have multiplied since then.
Ocala is no stranger to sinkholes, with the latest rash of them opening up in 2012
The Police Department said: ‘At this time there is only one building that’s been affected by the evacuations, but of course if they’re additional sinkholes that pop up in other areas that put a particular building at risk, those will be evacuated as well.’
The holes reportedly disrupted a fiber optic line that carries cable television to certain complexes. A monitor is watching the site currently to keep an eye out for any more movement in the ground.
Sinkholes are caused by water flowing through channels below ground and eroding away soil or soft rock like limestone.
As the earth is carried into other parts of the ground large caverns can open up, usually unbeknownst to the authorities or the people living above them. Once the cavern cannot support the weight of the topsoil above it, it collapses into the ground.
Sinkholes are depressions at the ground surface caused by the collapse of overlying chalk or superficial deposits into underground voids created by dissolution.