Minimal Sinkhole Risk In the Lowcountry - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Minimal Sinkhole Risk In the Lowcountry

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Port Royal, SC -

As the nation and professional workers on site watched helplessly, a sinkhole swallowed a Florida man and part of his home late last week. 

A scary scene that makes people wonder--could it happen here? 


South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Geologist Will Doar tests areas along the Palmetto State coastline, and showed a sinkhole in Port Royal that's been deflating for hundreds of years.


"And the whole area is just slowly dropping and the swamp is trying to fill it up," Doar said. "And if you look around here you'll probably find where people have put stuff over the centuries trying to fill it in, but it kind of stays.  Because the amount of dropping is balanced by the amount of swamp filling it back up."


In simple terms, Doar says we don't have reason to fear a sight like the one in Florida where the floor-- or "roof" of the hole-- drops out suddenly. 


There are two types of sinkholes, he says-- catastrophic ones that rapidly cave, and one that sink so slowly there's no danger.


"The limestone we have in this area don't have that roof, don't have that hard thing on top, so if the limestone does dissolve, everything on top just slowly falls in. I use the analogy of deflating an air mattress. It just all sort of sinks at the same time instead of suddenly falling in," Doar said.

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