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4/2/2013 - Study reveals high prevalence of sinkholes in Florida

Homeowners should prepare accordingly if their residential property is located in an area susceptible to sinkholes.

In the wake of an environmental catastrophe, wherein a Florida man lost his life after falling into a sinkhole, there's been renewed discussion regarding just how common these gaping breaks in the earth's surface are.

Recently, analytics firm CoreLogic conducted a study on the nature of sinkholes in and around Florida, the state where sinkholes most commonly form. They found that within a mile of where the March 1 incident that left a 20-foot crater in the ground took place, there could be more than 16 sinkholes uncovered.

In fact, CoreLogic has confirmed that there are at least 15,000 confirmed sinkholes overall in Florida, with certain counties having more than others, such as Hernando and Pasco County.

While news reports regarding sinkholes often detail the sheer size and magnitude of these fissures in the earth, the analytics and research firm clarifies that they aren't always devastating in nature.

"It's important to note that not all sinkholes are prone to a sudden collapse like this, and they all obviously represent various levels of risk to people in the area," the report said. It also pointed out that, as a general rule, a basic homeowners insurance policy generally does not cover sinkholes.

As noted by the Florida Sinkhole Research Institute, the Sunshine State is known for having a lot of sinkholes, mainly because it's situated on limestone, which is particularly vulnerable to erosion and the weight of groundwater. However, there are several other states that see sinkholes with relative frequency as well, including Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Kentucky, according to geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey.

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