A massive sinkhole in Florida that originally opened up in July has continued to grow to dangerous levels within weeks as officials condemned two more houses over the weekend. The recent incident raises the number of houses swallowed in the Land O'Lakes region, Pasco County, to seven, officials said on Monday (7 August).
Two homes and a boat were initially swallowed up as the result of the sinkhole on 14 July, but the Pasco County had then said the sinkhole had stopped expanding the following day after it grew over 240 ft wide and 50 ft (15 metres) deep.
However, the county officials said on that five additional homes had to be condemned as they met the "criteria for demolition" over the weekend.
The sinkhole is now reported to have grown by another 20 to 30 ft, local media reports said.
Local media footage showed contracts and insurance agencies working at the residential neighbourhood on Monday (7 August).
Officials are yet to determine what caused the destabilisation. But, according to Pasco County assistant administrator for public safety Kevin Guthrie the additional loss of in the banks of the sinkhole might have been because of the heavy machinery used for cleanup.
Guthrie said that geologists are yet to confirm if the sinkhole is still active.
"The entire area is riddled with sinkholes. We may be seeing a cause-and-effect-type stuff," he said.
The county officials also said that they are removing debris from the site at a calculated pace to ensure the land surrounding the sinkhole does not become unstable. But the cleanup is expected to go on for several months, NBC Chicago reported.
Florida is reported to have a history of sinkholes because of its porous limestone foundation that can collapse unexpectedly, creating sinkholes. But Pasco county's sinkhole is believed to be the largest the state had witnessed in six decades, the USA Today reported.
Sinkholes are generally stabilised by boring holes into the ground and injecting concrete.