Heavy Rainfall Creates Erosion in Middle Georgia
Sinkholes may not be forming in Middle Georgia, but rather severe erosional events may be causing the ground to move and appear to sink.
A severe drought mixed with an abundance of rain over the last few weeks is what Mercer University scientist, Dr. Brian Rood said is causing erosion in Middle Georgia, not sinkholes.
"When we've gone through a period of drought, you’re going to expect that these erosion events are going to be more dramatic and more pronounced."
So dramatic that it may look like a sinkhole, but Rood said it's not as likely because of the lack of limestone deposits in the state.
"We're not going to have characteristic disillusion sinkhole formations where the limestone is dissolving but rather we're going to have these rain events that are going to erode away the sand and clay grains from the landscape and create cutaways," he said.
This may have been the case with the Dodge County pond being swallowed on Monday. Rood said the drought may have caused cracks in the ground. Then with the heavy rainfall rushing across the land, the water probably seeped down to the clay and sand level. It then caused the ground to shift and eventually fall.
"What probably happened is that you have the pond that was up in the superficial aquifer and there was some, catastrophic failure of that clay lens and then it permitted the water to percolate through," he said.
Rood said people need to be aware of erosion and take measures to prevent their home from collapsing.
"If you have a good base and ground cover growing on the surface than you can reduce that erosion that you would expect,” he said.
Rood suggests that people have a French drain in the yard and to plant grass to protect the soil from being eroded away during a heavy rain period.