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Continued: Sinkhole swallows part of Florida resort villa; visitors describe the building 'just snapping'

  • Article by: KYLE HIGHTOWER , Associated Press
  • Last update: August 12, 2013 - 5:51 PM

Caldwell said he was awaiting further inspections to determine any damage to the second and third buildings. The resort — with condominiums, two-bedroom villas and vacation houses in addition to standard rooms — has about 900 units spread over a large area about 10 miles west of Walt Disney World. It is set on a secluded 64-acre lake.

Problems with sinkholes are ongoing in Florida. They cause millions of dollars in damage in the state annually. On March 1, a sinkhole underneath a house in Seffner, about 60 miles southwest of the Summer Bay Resort, swallowed a man who was in his bed. His body was never recovered.

But such fatalities and injuries are rare, and most sinkholes are small. They are caused by Florida's geology — the state sits on limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, with a layer of clay on top. The clay is thicker in some locations, making them even more prone to sinkholes.

Last week, Florida received a $1.08 million federal grant to study the state's vulnerability to sinkholes.

Other states sit atop limestone in a similar way, but Florida has additional factors like extreme weather, development, aquifer pumping and construction.

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