Sarasota County defines Nokomis holes as “deep geological strata”

Shamet also explained the geology of Nokomis is not known for sinkholes.
Shamet also explained the geology of Nokomis is not known for sinkholes.(ABC7)
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 3:01 PM EDT
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NOKOMIS, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County is referring to the holes in Nokomis as “deep geological strata” and officials say they are using it as a general term to differentiate the Nokomis holes from sinkholes.

The county released the following statement to ABC 7 about the definition of “deep geological strata.”

“The term “deep geological strata” is a general term used here to differentiate between 1) a shallow discontinuous caprock occurring sporadically in the upper approximately 15 to 30 feet of subsurface strata in an area. 2) A deeper continuous limestone strata that underlay the entire region at depths of about 60 to 100 feet or more,” stated Sarasota County officials in an email.

University of North Florida Assistant Professor of Geo-technical Engineering Ryan Shamet explained he’s never heard the term before, but a lot of people use different terminology.

Shamet went on to explain a sinkhole is internal erosion of the soil specifically at the limestone interface and the clay or sand above it.

“Sometimes you’ll have a leaky sewer pipe or even a pool leaking, and it will cause a subsidence, or some type of collapse and you know technically it is a sinkhole but from a geologic perspective, it really isn’t,” said Shamet.

Resident Leigh Sterrett explained after looking inside the first hole that opened, he believed it was a sinkhole.

“On the surface it didn’t look that bad because the roots of the oak trees were kind of holding the soil up but when you got in and looked with a flashlight, it was literally as large as a school bus. You could not see left or right how far back it went, and it was about a good twenty feet deep,” explained Sterrett.

Sarasota County is still waiting to sit down with Pulte developers to go over the results from their geologists’ survey. However, officials stressed that once that happens, they will follow up with any outcomes.

Additionally, while Shamet can’t classify the holes as sinkholes without physically examining them, he said it’s a cause and effect from the pumping. Shamet also explained the geology of Nokomis is not known for sinkholes.