Florida and it’s cousins Mr. Hurricane and the “OTHERS”


Have you heard of a Floridian that has never gone thru a hurricane or any other natural disaster?

Me neither!!!

Florida, known for natural disasters such as hurricanes, and wild life feared such as alligators. There is more to this state when it comes to the worry list of nature however, sinkholes. At any moment, the possibility of the Earth devouring an entire neighborhood does indeed exist.

In this photo released by Guatemala's Presidency on Monday May 31, 2010, a  sinkhole covers a street intersection in downtown Guatemala City, Monday May 31, 2010. A day earlier authorities blamed the heavy rains caused by tropical storm Agatha as the cause of the crater that swallowed a a three-story building but now say they will be conducting further studies to determine the cause. Last April 2007, another giant sinkhole in the same area killed 3 people.(AP Photo/Guatemala's Presidency, Luis Echeverria)

Being the home to more sinkholes recorded than the rest of the nation, local agencies that oversee insurance regulation and complaisance have reported at least three sinkholes in three consecutive months: Winter Haven in May, Jonesville in June, and Spring Hill in July.

InSAR, or Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar, is a new form of technology that was developed by NASA to predict and detect sinkhole formations via remote sensor. Acting similar to an ultrasound for our mother Earth, InSAR utilizes satellites and drones to study the altering ground elevations over time determining which changes could raise a vulnerability of sinkholes to an area.

Ronald Blom, a geologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory quotes, “The InSAR uses a technique that accurately examines repeat radar studies to detect subtle elevation shifts of the surface of the Earth basically.” He goes on to discuss how sinkholes cannot predict every sinkhole collapse as not all present surface deformation. “InSAR could still be a very useful tool in the grand scheme of observational purposes, however.”

In theory, a sinkhole can form anywhere across the state due to the carbonate rocks that underlay its entirety.

With hopes of learning more about the program and positive applications to Florida regarding the terrain change detection, Jim Lamar (Spokesman For Department of Environmental Protection of Florida) quoted “Though no response has yet been received, we have reached out to NASA.” Being the technology used in a NASA campaign to monitor the shifting of the ground following the Louisiana Gulf in March of 2014, the question is raised, what is the cause of these earth devours?

A paper titled “What’s Up with All the Sinkholes?” was written by a geologist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection named Clint Kromhout. He addresses the cause of sinkholes by describing not only the natural phenomena such as heavy rainfall and tropical storms, but identifies man made triggers for sinkholes like extensive pumping of groundwater, excavation, and drilling.

There is no guarantee that you could ever choose a region that is safe from sinkholes. The Florida Geological Survey states that the U.S Geological Survey doesn’t follow the frequency of sinkholes, “It is complicating to do so.” says a supervisory geologist with the agency.

Though the frequency of sinkholes may be lessened, there is evidence of more individuals being affected by them. The Office of Insurance Regulation of the state reports that there were over 6,000 sinkhole related claims in 2010 as opposed to the 2,400 filed in 2006. Kromhout states “It is likely impossible to prevent a gigantic sinkhole like the Winter Park sinkhole which devoured too much of its’ entirety to even consider leaving it alone, and remain quite.

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