A large sinkhole opened in a field Monday near Newberry Road in Jonesville next to the Campus USA Credit Union. Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird said he heard the sinkhole may have opened up on a farm, but is not certain. Bird is still waiting for the field report to come back, but said sometimes the weight of the rainwater in certain areas can become concentrated and cause the ground to collapse. He added that sometimes collapse can occur in within storm water basins, especially in the western parts of the county.
Sinkholes are formed by erosion, much like when sand erodes on a beach. When water from the aquifer or water from excess rainfall seeps into the ground, oxygen from the water combines with limestone in the ground to form an acid. This acid helps to eat away and erode limestone and other layers below the Earth’s surface. Once enough erosion occurs under the surface, and the weight of the surface becomes too much for the ground to hold, a sinkhole forms. When excess amounts of rainfall occur, like what happened this past weekend in Gainesville, the excess rain speeds up the erosion process.
Thankfully, WRUF Weather is forecasting a nice stretch of dry weather for a few days, which will hopefully mitigate the current situation and keep more from forming.