Tarpon Springs High School students and staff were shocked when they stepped onto the campus Friday morning where they discovered a giant hole in the ground, mere meters away from the culinary arts building.
Students and staff were restricted from entering the area as officials performed radar testing and other analyses to determine the cause of such a hole. Because Florida is known for its sinkholes, many fear that the hole could pose a danger to the building and its occupants.
According to the engineers, the hole is about 20 feet wide and up to 12 feet deep. After a brief delay because of heavy rain on Monday, officials were able to complete initial testing and fill the hole with dirt.
Recent reports proffered by the district’s civil engineer claim that the hole is not growing larger and does not appear to be a sinkhole at this time.
Sinkholes are fairly common in Florida due to its unique soil composition. The soil profile consists primarily of lime rock, some layers of which measure up to 60 feet below the ground. This water-soluble layer of limestone is prone to erosion where swiss cheese holes are apt to appear.
These swiss cheese holes aren’t often seen because they happen far below the surface. But when soil grows too heavy atop one of these holes, it can fall in. This results in a funnel-like hole in the ground. These falls are known as sinkholes.
It’s not uncommon for Florida residents and businesses to invest in medical and long-term insurance premiums for such events as this. Luckily, up to 100% of these premiums are deductible from an individual’s gross income, enabling Floridians to plan for the worst without going bankrupt in the process.
But this isn’t the first time Floridians have been wrong about a potential sinkhole. Just this January, public works employees discovered a tunnel many assumed was a part of a sinkhole event that happened in Pembroke Pines.
The 50-yard-long tunnel measuring only two feet in diameter, however, was not a natural occurrence.
Authorities found that the slim tunnel was actually a path to the ATM of a local Chase Bank.
This chance discovery was essential for the reputation of the bank where up to 40% of consumers claim a security breach would make them stop doing business with a company.
With a small rover, police found a power cord connected to a small generator at the foot of the hole, suggesting that this hole was still in the process of being tunneled.
Though the hole at Tarpon Springs High School was not the work of someone pulling a heist, potential rainfall and seismic activity might cause the hole to worsen.
In the meantime, culinary arts students and staff have been moved to another location on campus to continue class as usual.