20 holes in the ground have opened in Pasco County

Posted at 3:00 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 15:00:37-04

HUDSON, Fla. -- A Pasco County community remains on edge Tuesday as four additional holes have opened up in the area, bringing the total up to 20.

According to county officials, multiple depressions were monitored in the Lakeside Woodlands neighborhood in Hudson last week. After multiple followup site visits, officials saw that the depressions in the area have increased in size since the initial evaluation.

As of Tuesday morning, the largest hole was measured as 25 feet across and eight feet deep.

Earlier in the week, Pasco County officials said a geologist will have to determine the cause of the depressions, so it is unknown if last week's heavy rain played a role in the holes being formed.

Neighbors like Pat Johnson said people are scared, "everybody is watching carefully, and we're just watching the kids that are trying to peek in the holes."

County commissioner Jack Mariano was on site on Monday. He said there is an underground cavern below the area that USF mapped out years ago.

"It runs about 9 miles, and it runs right through the heart of Beacon Woods," Andy Fossa the Emergency Management Director of Pasco County said. "We started mapping that, and we started following it on the map, and it actually lines up with these cave systems. So, I'm not a geologist. I cannot tell if the two are connected. But, with the aquifer moving in the cave system, the heavy rains that we have, could set up for these depressions to start."

During a news conference on Monday, a county representative said back in 2015 there was a large sinkhole in Beacon Woods, a subdivision nearby -- but, it turned out to be an entrance to one of the caves.

USF looked into the cave system, back then — and found it extends from State Road 52 to US 19 and it goes out to the Gulf of Mexico.

Only a state or private contractor can call these sinkholes, and one has not been out to the site to investigate.