Experts say sinkholes are not uncommon in Alabama - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Experts say sinkholes are not uncommon in Alabama

Posted: Updated:
  • More newsMore>>

  • Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains

    Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:48 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:48:11 GMT
    An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip is holding, as many wonder what was gained during 50 days of fighting.More >>
    An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was holding Wednesday, as many people on both sides of the conflict wondered what was gained during 50 days of fighting.More >>
  • UN panel: Crimes against humanity spread in Syria

    UN panel: Crimes against humanity spread in Syria

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:43 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:43:23 GMT
    The independent U.N. commission on Syrian war crimes says the Islamic State group has committed crimes against humanity with its attacks on civilians in two cities in the country's north and west.More >>
    An independent U.N. commission said Wednesday that the Syrian government has likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians and that the Islamic State group committed crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians in two...More >>
  • School board adopts new process to evaluate MPS superintendent

    School board adopts new process to evaluate MPS superintendent

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:35 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:35:36 GMT
    A new evaluation tool has been approved to gauge the progress of Montgomery school superintendent Margaret Allen. All eyes have been on Allen and her efforts to turn the system around and the school boardMore >>
    A new evaluation tool has been approved to gauge the progress of Montgomery school superintendent Margaret Allen. All eyes have been on Allen and her efforts to turn the system around and the school board now has a new process to ensure that the goals she's set are being met.   More >>
LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -

Roots are all that's left of a tree that once stood high above Jerome Hamby's yard off Lee Road 704 in Opelika. Wednesday afternoon, the earth gave out and formed this massive hole on his property.

[RELATED: Homeowner narrowly escapes sinkhole that swallows tree]

"If I was out there cutting the grass, I'd probably be out there with the tree," says Hamby.

Despite popular belief, sinkholes are not unusual in Alabama and they can come in all sizes.

"There are major land areas in Alabama that have the same issues because they contact the underground geology that's water soluble and when some of that gets dissolved it leave large holes of water. Sinkholes are very common," explains Dr. James. Hairston,-, AU Professor Emeritus/ Retired  and ACES Water Program Coordinator.

Sinkholes are frequently associated with urban development in karst landscapes.

Mining or quarrying and high water withdrawal can lead to some types of sinkholes and is what Hairston believes happened yesterday in Opelika.

A quarry is in operation just down the street from Hamby's property.

"They call it a cone of depression. The deeper the sinkhole gets, you have a cone forming away from the line quarry where the water starts dropping," says Hairton.

Officials from the Opelika quarry taped off the newly formed sinkhole Thursday and removed the tree.

In 2007, Lee County sued and reached a settlement with the then owners of the rock quarry, where the quarry will pay for and repair any sinkhole related damages in a given area on public and private property.

"They say they're going to shut this thing down in August and they tell me then that it should do away with the sinkholes in this community," says Hamby.

"You have that potential anywhere close to a quarry," explains Hairton.

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow