The February 28, 2013, Florida Sinkhole

A devastating sinkhole occurred in Florida on February 28, 2013, raising questions and concerns about this incredible phenomenon. Around 20% of the U.S. lies in areas susceptible to sinkhole events, highlighting the need for research and to be informed about this hazard.

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • What is a sinkhole? How does a sinkhole form?
  • Why are sinkholes a common problem in Florida?
  • What is “sinkhole season”? Why does it occur?
  • Can sinkhole formation be triggered by human activity? Explain.
  • Is your home at risk of falling into a sinkhole? Why/why not?
  • What are some consequences that people may face as a result of sinkholes, especially in areas like Florida?
  • Should humans continue to build homes and businesses on land that is at a high risk of ground collapse from a sinkhole? Why/why not?

Big Ideas

From the Earth Science Literacy Principles

  • Big Idea 1. Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet. (1.1)
  • Big Idea 3. Earth is a complex system of interacting rock, water, air, and life. (3.4, 3.6,)
  • Big Idea 8. Natural hazards pose risks to humans (8.1, 8.2, 8.4, 8.5)

From The Big Ideas in Earth and Space Science (ESBD)

  • The Earth System (1)
  • The Hydrosphere (11)
  • The Nature of Science (22, 23)

Compiled March 07, 2013, by L. Guertin

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