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Scientists creating map to predict sinkhole activity


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 6, 2014 – Using $1.08 million in federal grant money, the Florida Geological Survey and Florida Department of Emergency Management are collaborating on a project to create a detailed, multilayered map that shows where sinkholes are most likely to form – but it will not predict where and when individual sinkholes will occur.

“Essentially, what we’re looking for is all the variables that explain why a sinkhole occurs where it does,” says Geologist Clint Kromhout.

State geologists have been to 30 sites and mapped about 50 sinkholes so far, but it is unclear if insurers will one day use the map to justify increases in sinkhole insurance rates.

“But I think (property insurers) will definitely have an interest in the map,” Kromhout says.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation in 2006-10 said that 67 percent of sinkhole damage claims were reported in Hernando, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties; and state regulators recently approved increases of 20 percent for sinkhole insurance for Hernando and Pasco counties and 50 percent for Hillsborough County.

Researchers involved in the study are expected to look at underground wells and streams, as well as soils and sediments to determine where the ground is likely to collapse.

Source: Tampa Tribune (12/25/13) Rosica, James L.

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Related Topics: Property insurance