USGS: TN among states most likely to have sinkhole damage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

USGS: TN among states most likely to have sinkhole damage

The resort, located six miles from Walt Disney World, plans to reopen next week despite the gaping 100-foot wide cavern that devoured a building. The resort, located six miles from Walt Disney World, plans to reopen next week despite the gaping 100-foot wide cavern that devoured a building.

(WMC-TV) - A sinkhole that swallowed part of a resort in Florida has people talking all over the country. The resort, located six miles from Walt Disney World, could reopen next week despite the gaping 100-foot wide cavern that devoured a building.

Experts are weighing in as additional questions are raised about what caused the sinkhole and what will happen next.  Another question that has come up: Where are sinkholes most likely to develop and do the most damage? Tennessee is one of the states mentioned in those discussions.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Tennessee, as well as Florida, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

But why?

Those states are home to certain rock types that, if water is brought into the mix, can dissolve, causing underground cavities to form leading to sinkholes.

According to a USGS map, the soil in middle and eastern Tennessee contains considerable amounts of carbonates (limestone and dolomite), which are susceptible to dissolution. In a perfect storm, a sinkhole, like the one that swallowed the resort in Florida, can form.

Groundwater pumping, construction, and development are all things that can change a land surface, causing a sinkhole to form in urban areas.

To read more about the research done by USGS about the potential for sinkholes in and around Tennessee, click here: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sinkholes.html

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