WJTV News Channel 12 - Southwest Virginia becoming more susceptible to sinkholes

Southwest Virginia becoming more susceptible to sinkholes

Posted: Updated:
BLACKSBURG -

Heavy rain and flooding throughout Southwest Virginia is bringing a familiar problem back to the forefront, sinkholes.

"I would say it is probably more likely that they are increasing in number," said regional geologist Bill Henika.

He studies sinkholes for different groups including the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech.

Henika said the impact of heavy rain, like what we've seen over the last two weeks, is making sinkholes more likely.

"It's just like how the trees are more likely to fall over because the soil loses its strength," he said.

They can be man-made, like when a water pipe bursts or in a lot of cases natural.

Limestone is very susceptible, meaning it's more likely to absorb water and eventually crack.

That stone can be found from Rockbridge County all the way down to the New River Valley.

Add in all the rain and it's a recipe for more sinkholes.

"We know the features are under there," Henika said. "It's just a matter of the more water in the system, then the weaker the soil archers are and you will have more collapse."

Henika and his team have developed dozens of geological maps measuring the likelihood of sinkholes, especially on major highways like Interstate 81.

CLICK HERE for interactive geological map

He said a lot of that information is used by agencies like Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to assess potential risks.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Kraft Foods recalls over 7,500 cases of Kraft American Singles

    Kraft Foods recalls over 7,500 cases of Kraft American Singles

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:43 AM EDT2014-09-02 06:43:53 GMT
    (WSLS)-- Kraft Foods announces a voluntary recall of more than 7,500 cases of craft singles cheese slices.The company says the recall is a precaution after a supplier failed to store the cheese in accordance with Kraft temperature standards.No complaints or illnesses have been reported. If you have one of the affected packages, return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.Here are the affected items:Product Name:12 oz Kraft American Singles (16 slices)Best When Used by Date...
    (WSLS)-- Kraft Foods announces a voluntary recall of more than 7,500 cases of craft singles cheese slices.The company says the recall is a precaution after a supplier failed to store the cheese in accordance with Kraft temperature standards.No complaints or illnesses have been reported. If you have one of the affected packages, return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.Here are the affected items:Product Name:12 oz Kraft American Singles (16 slices)Best When Used by Date...
  • Vigil held for 2-year-old girl who died after being left in hot van

    Vigil held for 2-year-old girl who died after being left in hot van

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:30 PM EDT2014-09-02 00:30:57 GMT
    Roanoke City Police are investigating the incident surrounding the death of a 2-year-old girl. According to a news release from police, officers were called to the 1500 block of Kenwood Boulevard SE at 4:27 p.m. Sunday for an unresponsive child.
    Roanoke City Police are investigating the incident surrounding the death of a 2-year-old girl. According to a news release from police, officers were called to the 1500 block of Kenwood Boulevard SE at 4:27 p.m. Sunday for an unresponsive child.
  • Keithville boy born without brain dies at 12

    Keithville boy born without brain dies at 12

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:27 AM EDT2014-09-01 13:27:12 GMT
    Baby Trevor with his momBaby Trevor with his mom
    An ArkLaTex child born without a brain and defied all odds passed away peacefully in his sleep Monday. 
    An ArkLaTex child born without a brain and defied all odds passed away peacefully in his sleep Monday. 
Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.