The sinkhole on the Sherwood campus Wednesday has consumed pecan trees
Limestone underlies much of South Georgia, and the soft rock is easily worn away by rain water.
This map of geologic formations in Georgia shows the areas of limestone in yellow.
Crews work on filling a sinkhole that opened up along Old Pretoria Road in Dougherty County.
This sinkhole is small but it was large enough to knock this tree off balance, causing it to fall on a house on Williams Drive in Albany.
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Crews are working to fill a big sinkhole near Sherwood Christian Academy.
This week's torrential rain led to several sinkholes in the area.
Thursday crews from Dougherty County Public Works and Albany Water Gas and Light were out filling a hole that opened up near Old Pretoria Road that caused some travel delays for the people in this area.
And this isn't anywhere near the size of the two biggest holes in this area.
Legacy Park is a part of Sherwood Church designed for families to enjoy.
But behind these gates lies something scary, something that seems like it's out of Hollywood. While Sherwood is known for its pictures this is something that no one here could have imagined.
"It was a surprise," said Ken Bevel, the Senior Associate Pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church
Around 4 PM Wednesday afternoon, two massive sinkholes opened up at the park. Bevel says that while the holes are an inconvenience, there was a bit of good news.
"That's the important thing for us, no one was hurt, no structures or buildings were damaged," he said.
Around the corner form Sherwood, another sinkhole opened up on Old Pretoria Road. That joins two other sinkholes that have opened up in Dougherty and Worth Counties in the past couple of weeks. So what's going on here?
Dr. Samuel Peavy is a Geophysics Professor at Georgia Southwestern State University. He said, "it's been pretty dry and you get a lot of rainfall all of a sudden you saturate the soils they get a little heavier, you have that opening underground, it can collapse into the void space."
The aquifer itself is another factor.
It's close to the surface throughout most of South Georgia. And it's made of limestone which is a soft rock created out of the skeletons of ancient sea creatures. Rainwater is slightly acidic so it eats away at the limestone. The process takes a long time, but the end result doesn't.
Dr. Peavy said, "the ones that are ready to go, go."
So how can you tell if your house is a possible sinkhole victim years down the road? Dr. Peavy says that there is a way to predict the seemingly unpredictable. He says that he and one of his students did a survey about a decade ago in the Leslie area and were able to predict the general area that sinkholes did eventually form.
Of course, they have highly technical equipment at their disposal but you can have it done for as well.
"You can hire a geotechnical company to come in and they might be able to do an investigation," said Dr. Peavy.
But as long as the aquifer and the rain are here, sinkholes are going to be a possibility.
So homeowners will have to keep watching for more hungry holes whenever the conditions are right.
Sherwood officials say they're still trying to figure out how long it will take to get the hole repaired.
Until then they'll keep at least the portion of the park with the sinkhole in it closed off.
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:46 PM EDT2013-05-25 16:46:21 GMT
(Photo Credit: Courtesy: USMC)
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