Newberry Home to Undergo Sinkhole Repairs After Cavern Discovered Underneath
Published March 8th, 2013
NEWBERRY - Homeowners often consider many factors when looking to buy a new house, one of which is location. But one north central Florida woman's dream home is now sinking, all because of where it sits.
Donna Gillis purchased a home in Newberry three-and-a-half years ago after falling in love with the area. She was moving to the city from Gainesville and says the home was perfect, save for a few small cracks she later found in her garage and driveway.
But Gillis was shocked when she found a small hole, about two feet wide and a foot deep, had opened up in her backyard. After calling out engineers, Gillis' worst fears were confirmed: her home was sitting on top of a nearly 30-foot cavern and was in danger of sinking in.
"The western half of the county has a much higher frequency of sinkhole formation than the eastern half," said Dr. Anthony Randazzo, a professor emeritus of geology at the University of Florida, and the man they call the 'sinkhole expert.'
He says the limestone involved in the formation of sinkholes is much closer to the earth's surface in the western half of Alachua county. "So when you have cavities in the limestone, and the limestone is relatively close to the surface, the cavities collapse, and you develop a sinkhole," said Dr. Randazzo.
In an effort to save Gillis' house, engineers have drilled a series of holes underneath her foundation, which they plan on filling in with grout. Gillis says she is fortunate in that her home insurance policy does cover sinkhole damage. She says her insurer is paying for all of the repairs.
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