Analysis Of The Winter Of 2013 A Sinkhole

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Introduction In the winter of 2013 a sinkhole took the life of Jeffrey Bush in Seffner, Florida. He was lying in bed when the ground collapsed beneath his bedroom. Death from sinkhole formation is rare, but sinkhole collapses are a common occurrence throughout the state of Florida (Brinkmann, 2013, p.1). Natural hazards, such as sinkholes, can detrimentally impact society and the environment. Indeed, sinkholes can reroute surface runoff into aquifers; cause structural damage to roads and buildings; drain wetlands; and as shown in the example above, have fatal consequences. Florida’s growing population corresponds with an increase in urbanization throughout the state, which results in the accelerated development of groundwater and land resources. Sinkholes are naturally occurring phenomena, but their increasing frequency throughout Florida correlates with the accelerated development of these resources (Tihansky, 1999, p.121). Together, Figures 1 and 2 visually display the correlation between Florida’s growing population and the increase in sinkhole development from 1960 to 2000. Anthropogenic factors such as groundwater pumping, combined with certain environmental conditions associated with a lowered base water level (e.g. drought and hurricanes), can result in sinkhole development. For example, the excessive pumping of groundwater can create subsurface voids because of the lowering of the water table, which can lead to the development of sinkholes due to gravity and the

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