Define the Key Term Sinkhole, Explain How a Sinkhole Forms, and Give an Example You Researched.

Topics: Groundwater, Aquifer, Water Pages: 2 (604 words) Published: October 22, 2008
Define the key term sinkhole, explain how a sinkhole forms, and give an example you researched. The text book defines sinkholes as “a depression produced in a region where soluble rock has been removed by groundwater.” According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, sinkholes form in karst terrain mostly due to the collapse and erosion of surface sediments into underground cavities in the limestone bedrock. Karst is commonly used term referring to the characteristic terrain produced by the erosion processes associated with chemical weathering and dissolution of limestone or dolomite. Karst landforms include caves, disappearing streams, springs, and underground drainage systems.

Typically circular, but not restricted to this shape, sinkholes are a common feature of Florida’s landscape. According to well drilling data, much of the underlying bedrock in Florida is riddled with cavities of differing sizes and depths. Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the nation and many of Florida’s lakes are former sinkholes.

Most rainwater is slightly acidic and usually becomes more acidic as it moves through decaying plant debris. Limestone in Florida is porous and therefore allows acidic water to move throughout their strata. Over a period of many years, the movement of acidic water slowly erodes cavities and caves in the limestone. When the cavity enlarges to the point that its ceiling can no longer support the weight of the sediments and objects above it, the ceiling collapses and falls into the cavity, thereby producing a sinkhole.

Another possible cause of sinkholes is a natural drought or the over pumping of groundwater. The loss of water leaves underground cavities empty and creates conditions that are favorable for sinkholes. In addition, a heavy rain following a drought can create enough pressure to create a sinkhole.

There are several human activities that can cause a sinkhole, these include the over pumping of ground...
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