PHOTO: Giant Sinkhole Consumes Resort in Florida

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
August 13, 2013; 8:07 PM
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Damage to buildings caused by a sinkhole is seen at the Summer Bay Resort, Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, in Clermont, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

A 60-foot-wide sinkhole formed under the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, Fla., late Sunday night prompting the evacuation of its guests, according to CNN.

The sinkhole caused much of the building to collapse; however, no injuries were reported. An investigation is still underway.

Sinkholes can form anywhere that soluble rock is present underground, such as limestone, gypsum and salt. Both significant rainfall and drought can prompt the formation of sinkhole.

From Aug. 5 through Aug. 12, Orlando Executive Airport and Orlando International Airport, the closest observation sites to Clermont, have each recorded less than 1 inch of rainfall. Both average more than 2.80 inches in this period typically.

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What Causes Sinkholes to Form?

"The weather has not been unusual in this area," according to Meteorologist Erik Pindrock. "The area has had weeks that were slightly above normal and slightly below in terms of rainfall. It has averaged out to slightly above normal," he said.

The area has not received any significant moisture from a tropical system since Tropical Storm Andrea in early June.

As of 2:00 p.m. Monday, the Summer Bay resort had not released any information publicly about the incident.

More than 20 percent of the country is above "karst terrain," which can produce a sink hole, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Sinkholes occur most often in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Earlier this year, a 20-foot sinkhole in Florida swallowed a house and its resident after developing while the man was sleeping.


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