Map predicting sinkhole-prone areas closer to reality

TALLAHASSEE — State geologists are well on their way to creating a statewide map showing where sinkholes are most likely to form.

Last year, Florida got more than $1 million in federal funding for a three-year study. A pilot in Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties ended in May.

Professionals with the Florida Geological Survey visited about 230 locations, sampling and studying the land.

Their fieldwork contributed to a “relative vulnerability” map that so far has proved 93 percent successful in the pilot area in predicting that sinkholes will form, geologist Clint Kromhout said.

That figure was reverse-engineered by comparing the pilot’s sinkhole predictions to where “subsidence events” actually did occur.

The predictions were at a countywide scale; science can’t predict where and when an individual sinkhole will occur.

The Florida Geological Survey and Florida Department of Emergency Management are collaborating on the study.

Entire Article: .pdf | Tampa Tribune and Tampa Times