Experts Say Sink Holes Aren't Uncommon in South Central Kentucky

"So you can compact a sink hole, fill it up and build a building on top of it. However, the cave streams will continue to undermine any of that soil that may be funneling it's way down," said Dr. Michael May, WKU Professor for Department of Geography and Geology.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- “There are a lot of sinkholes in South Central Kentucky and one of the reasons we have them is because of our limestone," said Dr. Michael May, WKU Professor for Department of Geography and Geology.

A lot of local residents are familiar with sinkholes in this area and many even have sinkholes on their land. One common question, how do these sinkholes form?

"Basically it is the interplay of the water, dissolving with a weak acid, carbonic acid, dissolving the lime stone, making our karst region, our caves and sink holes," said Dr. Michael May, WKU Professor for Department of Geography and Geology.

There are investigative surveys land owners can pay for to study the land and learn if sinkholes do exist. It is common for land owners to locate a sinkhole and choose to fill it in.

"So you can compact a sinkhole, fill it up and build a building on top of it. However, the cave streams will continue to undermine any of that soil that may be funneling it's way down," said Dr. Michael May, WKU Professor for Department of Geography and Geology.

Experts say, even after leveling the land and filling in sinkholes underneath a building, the larger the structure and the longer it sits, the chances of it caving into the sinkhole does increase.

"So a small house, people shouldn't freak out and think oh my gosh my house is going to go down," said Dr. Michael May, WKU Professor for Department of Geography and Geology.

But as we all know, anything can happen.

"One thing you can do is make sure your down spouts are draining a number of feet away. Make sure the little rubber corrugated hoses are not draining near your foundation. If you don't like the unsightliness of that, you can bury them,” said Dr. Michael May, WKU Professor for Department of Geography and Geology.

Experts say, flat land is actually unnatural for this area. When spotted, it could mean it was graded off during construction and sinkholes were filled in to create level areas. Examples of this could be land underneath Greenwood Mall, WKU and the Corvette museum.


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