Beemer (dr_tectonic) wrote,

Don't Live In Florida

Just got back from a coffee talk about sinkholes and related hazards in Florida. Now, in the course of my job I've been exposed over the last couple years to a lot of information about hazards, natural and otherwise, and while I'm no expert (and this is just my opinion, and should not be considered in any way an official statement by anybody), I have come to the following conclusion:

Do. NOT. Live. In. Florida.

Seriously. The place is freakin' DOOMED. Aside from the hurricanes (which will just be getting worse in the future), the natural resource limitation issues (too many people, not enough groundwater), and the fact that most of the peninsula will likely be underwater in a century or two as sea levels rise from global warming, the entire damn state sits on a carbonate platform.

Carbonates dissolve in fresh water. And when you remove part of the ground beneath you, eventually the rest of it collapses into a big sinkhole.

The anthropogenic influences on sinkhole development are HUGE. People pull fresh water out of the water table to bathe, drink, clean, irrigate (lawns are evil!) and so on, and all of that water, "dirty" but still fresh (i.e., not saline) ends up getting pumped deep into the ground to flow back to the ocean -- dissolving the rocks as it goes. Adding more people makes it worse.

Guess where all the baby boomers are moving?

And there's not a damn thing that can be done about it.

The basic problem, the really fundamental problem here, is that in the U.S. (as in most places), people are allowed to go anyplace they want, build a house, and live there. Whether or not it's bad for the environment, or the economy, or society, or civilization in general. I'm coming to the conclusion that this was a bad societal choice, design-wise.
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