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Don't Worry, Miami: You (Probably) Won't Be Swallowed by a Sinkhole

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With news that a second sinkhole has opened a mere two miles from the Tampa-area site where last week a man died after being swallowed by a sinkhole that formed under his home, you might be worried the entire state is sinking. Well, as you should know, Miami is a far different place from Tampa, and the chances of deadly sinkholes opening down here are pretty much nil.

"We won't completely rule it out, but it's not very likely to happen over here," University of Miami research scientist Dr. Shimon Wdowiski tells NBC Miami.

You see, while most of the state lies on sinkhole-prone limestone, the exact geology of South Florida is a bit different. Here the limestone rests closer to the top of the soil and isn't as old as that in other parts of the state. Sinkholes form when limestone erodes and collapses. So even on the rare occasion that a sinkhole does form in South Florida, it's not likely to be as dramatic as the headline-making one near Tampa.

"It's not a sudden collapse," Wdowiski says of South Florida sinkholes.

In other words: You probably don't have to worry about being swallowed by one while lying in bed.

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