Tennessee sinkhole opens in middle of Austin Peay football field (+video)

Tennessee sinkhole: A large sinkhole opened up in the football field at Austin Peay State University's Governors Stadium. Crews in Tennessee are working to fill the sinkhole.

By , Associated Press

Construction crews in Tennessee are working to fill a sinkhole that opened at Austin Peay State University's Governors Stadium.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports the sinkhole started out small, about 3 feet by 5 feet, but workers have had to dig a much larger hole — about 40 feet deep and 40 feet wide — to find stable bedrock.

The hole was discovered about a month ago where the football field meets the track during a project to replace the main stadium building.

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Mike Jenkins, superintendent for Nashville-based Bell & Associates Construction, told the newspaper sinkholes are common in the area and the budget included sinkhole remediation funding.

“We actually put a line item in the budget for sinkhole remediation,” said Mike Jenkins, superintendent for Nashville-based Bell & Associates Construction. “You never know to what extent you’re going to run into them, but we know that Montgomery County, and Austin Peay State University specifically, is famous for sinkholes.”

Jenkins said workers continued to excavate Monday while officials met with a geotechnical engineer. He said the hole will be filled with rock and concrete.

Like Florida, Tennessee has an abundance of limestone formations, which make it prone to sinkholes. Last year, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the geology of sinkholes after a sinkhole opened up near Disney World.

"Sinkholes start with water and limestone, two things Florida has in abundance. Limestone dissolves in water, and the more acidic the water, the faster the limestone gets eaten away. What starts as a small hole, deep underground, can grow bigger and bigger until it's a cave you could walk upright in. Flowing ground water keeps dissolving away the top, sides, and bottom of a limestone cave, enlarging it in all directions. For people living on the surface above these caverns, there's no obvious sign that the ground beneath their feet is being eaten away from below."

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