Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. As Florida's human population grows, the incidence of sinks occurring in populated areas has grown. Sometimes, this has been with disastrous results. In 1981, a Winter Park home, six vehicles, and parts of two streets dropped into a 300 foot wide, 100 foot deep sinkhole. Geologists and engineers learned from such events, but prediction of sinkhole formation remains largely a guessing game. Sinkholes are a part of life in North and Central Florida, but rare in South Florida. Sinkholes are formed as water erodes and weakens the underground architecture of Florida's backbone, but human actions can play a role in sink formation. Water not only erodes limestone to create tunnels and caverns beneath Florida, but it provides some support. During times of drought and over-use of water resources, the level of ground water goes down, removing support and weakening the roofs of underground caverns and tunnels. Sinks sometimes fill with water to become a lake; wildlife quickly moves in, some of it helped by the conditions favoring sink formation by way of water-filled tunnels through the limestone.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.