Although limestone dissolves very slowly in pure water, it is readily dissolved by carbonic acid, found in rainwater and decaying plant and organic materials.

As the Florida peninsula emerged from the ocean, it was populated by plants and animals and inundated with rain.

As rainwater passed through the soil, it picked up traces of carbonic acid and other various organic acids, which eroded and dissolved the limestone platform to create tunnels, caverns, ponds, streams, springs and sinkholes.

people standing in a sinkhole filled with water Sinkholes are a common occurrence in Florida; SWFWMD file photo.

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