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Ground Depressions In Pasco Likely Caused By Heavy Rains

Aug 20, 2019

Several large holes in the ground have opened in a Pasco County neighborhood. The depressions may be forming now because the area had consecutive days of heavy rainfall, officials said.

So far, officials have found 20 of the holes, some as big as a house, in the Lakeside Woodlands Community, according to a press release from Pasco County.

They said the depressions were active and increasing in size.

Nicholas Albergo, a sinkhole specialist and professor at the University of South Florida, said it's common to see these holes when it rains a lot because the limestone foundation in Pasco and surrounding areas is very shallow.

"It's very likely that this has been something that was coming along for some time and has just been exacerbated by the recent heavy rains," he said.  

Click the video below to view drone footage of the depressions:

Albergo said depressions are like sinkholes, but not as deep or immediate. They usually happen slowly, overtime, as soil finds its way through the cracks and crevices of the underlying limestone.

Residents can't do a lot to prepare for the formations, he said. 

“Unfortunately natural sinkholes are just a fact of life in states such as Florida because of it's geology,” he said.

As long as it continues to rain on these shallow areas, there's going to be sinkhole activity, Albergo said. But as the rain starts to subside, he said he expects to see fewer of these formations.

Pasco officials said on Tuesday afternoon that no people or structures were at risk.

USF is scheduled to send a team of experts out Wednesday to assist with mapping and three-dimensional scans of the area.