Four more depressions open in Hudson neighborhood; 20 in total

Concerns are growing as more holes open in the ground of a Hudson, Florida neighborhood.

Not only are there new holes – now totaling 20 - but some of the existing holes got bigger.

Researchers who specialize in mapping sinkholes showed up in Pasco County Tuesday and showed us how they track them.

USF researchers use 3-D scanners and drones to map out the holes when they happen.

USF Libraries Research Associate Lori Collins studies the surface, uses historical maps of the land, and combines what they find with what geologists capture underground.

"That can give us really valuable environmental clues and information and kind of help us better holistically understand what is going on," Collins said.

Their machines helped them when sinkholes in Land ‘O' Lakes swallowed two houses back in 2017.

"That allowed us to see through time what was happening at the site and how it was changing or how it had stabilized," Collins explained.

USF researchers plan to head out to Lakeside Woodlands Community to help gather new information about these depressions. Pasco County officials say a cave system sits under the neighborhood, ranging from 4 feet to 185 feet below the surface.

Sinkhole repair company Helicon said heavy rain added stress on the land.

"If you can picture a tunnel, an underground aquifer, cave system, underneath the ground and over time rain eroding that top layer of it and once it opens up the soil collapses down into the cave system," Helicon President Jay Silver said.

Geological experts say you can't predict when holes will form. It can take anywhere from an hour to months before you see anything on the surface. They say to look for small cracks in your floor or watch for doors or windows that no longer close properly. Those are signs the ground could be shifting.