The view, and lessons, from down inside a Florida sinkhole - FOX 13 News

The view, and lessons, from down inside a Florida sinkhole

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WILLISTON, Fla. (FOX 13) -

Sinkholes have been a part of Florida's geography thousands of years. But they've been in the news so much recently, a lot of people have been asking questions about them.

There's only one sinkhole that's safe enough to tour, and get some answers and views from the inside.

It is in Williston, Florida, and above ground, you'd never know what it was.

"It's like the sinkholes that are developing now," said tour guide Prince Johnston.

From the inside, it's gigantic.

"It just opened up to an underground cavern," Johnston said.

The prehistoric cavern is the same geology behind the thousands of sinkholes Florida has seen and will see more of over the years.

"It's basically round at the top and it's like an upside down mushroom. As you come down, it doubles in size to about 120 feet," Johnston said.

What's not typical is the access. A small staircase is the one way in and the one way out of the earth, traveling 65 feet deep.

"Basically, if you took all the sand and silt out on a sinkhole, you would have a cavity or a cavern or a room like this," Johnston said.

What's special about this sinkhole can be seen shimmering on the wall. The cavern is coated in limestone and the water that fills it is funneled in from the Florida aquifer. Something caused the hole to cave in during the dinosaur days.

Then erosion, rainwater, and the rise and fall of the aquifer washed away the silt.

What's left is a rare specimen of a sink hole, housed in rock.

"All of Florida is limestone," Johnston said.

It's the only example open to the public, of how sink holes like we've seen in Tampa Bay, would appear without debris and dirt.

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