What is a sinkhole?

Sinkholes are depressions or holes in the land surface that occur throughout west-central Florida. They can be shallow or deep, small or large, but all are a result of the dissolving of the underlying limestone.

Hydrologic conditions, including lack of rainfall, lowered water levels, or, conversely, excessive rainfall in a short period of time, can all contribute to sinkhole development. More facts about sinkholes can be found in the District’s Sinkhole Brochure.

View the Department of Environmental Protection’s sinkhole database

Sinkholes are a common naturally occurring geologic phenomenon and one of the predominant land forms in Florida.

The Making of a Sinkhole

Many of the lakes in Florida are relic sinkholes. Sinkholes can be classified as geologic hazards sometimes causing extensive damage to structures and roads resulting in costly repairs. Sinkholes can also threaten water supplies by draining unfiltered water from streams, lakes and wetlands directly into the aquifer (underground water supply).

What if a sinkhole opens on my property?

  • If your home is threatened, contact your homeowners insurance company.
  • If extensive damage occurs to your house or property, notify the Office of Emergency Management for the county.
  • If desired, the resident may make contact with a private contractor to evaluate the hole to officially determine if it is a sinkhole.
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