Photograph of a suspected sink hole opening up in FloridaSinkholes & Subsidences in Georgia

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Sinkholes in Georiga:

This article describes the location & type of sinkholes occurring in Georgia.

This article series explains what sinkholes are and why they occur, describes their effects on buildings, and gives building and site inspection advice useful in identifying areas where there is an increased risk of sink holes at properties.

The photograph (above-left) of a sinkhole opening in a residential yard in Pennsylvania, not Georgia, is from Kochanov, W.E. and illustrates the child hazard or even adult sinkhole hazard that can be formed by storm water drainage.

Explanation of causes of sinking buildings from events other than sinkholes.

Catalog of types of sink holes around the world including California, Canada, Quebec, Estonia, Guatemala, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas,Tennessee, Virginia and other states and provinces and countries. Explanation of causes of sinking buildings from events other than sinkholes.

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Sinkholes in Georgia

Stormwater drainage sinkhole in Pennsylvania - PA DCNRSinkholes have been reported in Georgia including news artilces in the Examiner (a freelance writing website) in 2014 describing an event in Atlanta that could have been related to human activity (even a burst water main) though the report attributed it to the presence of a stretch zone in the North American Tectonic plate.

That news report described other stretch-zone events including "... loud booms, moaning, humming, and other sounds coming from the ground ...".

Sinkholes occur in Georgia principally in areas located over karst formations such as the Dougherty Plain in the Albany, Georgia area, Valdosta Georgia, along the Flint River in southwest Georgia, at karst formations below Lake Seminole, and other south Georgia areas.

Lake Louise is a "coalesced" sinkhole lake found in Lowndes County, also in southern Georgia.

Sinkholes have also been studied in Southwest Georgia along the Pelham Escarpment between Bainbridge and Camilla. (Jancin 1993).

Sinkholes may also be ascribed to human activities including lowering of groundwater in some areas or use of injection wells in others. (Newton, 1987).

In general terms a sinkhole is any sudden subsidence of the earth. In more technical terms, a true "sinkhole" is a subsidence or soil collapse caused by a combination of water eroding supporting soils, rock, or limestone, and an underlying geological structure or material that is particularly vulnerable to dissolving in water.

Urban or suburban sinkholes due to burst water mains, sewer lines, or storm drains can occur almost anywhere.

Here we focus on other sinkhole types and causes including sinkholes due to geological formations, types of rock (karst formations), or due to human activities such as mining. We also discuss here sinking buildings from causes other than sinkholes.

Question: scared of sinkholes or mud explosion in Winder Georgia

2016/05/30 Sharon said:

Hi, I'm scared to death in Winder,GA. I live at the site of an inactive (at least at the moment & not since it's last week eruption in the 1800s which killed everyone in a 10 mile radius.) Mud volcano. Our yard is pasture and woods except right up by the house from the foundation out 10 feet is peat moss and lately I've been feeling like the bottom is dropping out from my feetwhile I'm in the house.

It's a three story govornors mansion style brick home built in 1967.

Almost everything is just how it was back then except the wash down slope to the side that used to lead to a huge lake wehad out back about two football fields behind our house and suddenly about a year and a half ago the damn brokeand the water went somewhere but the lake is now gone not to mention there's black quicksand down around the area outside the crater a little ways which was already there.

The Indians called this place the gateway to hell and itused to be a burning swamp. Is this house on top of a sink hole cause I'm really certain that it's not safe but I can't convince anyone to listen inside our home. Help me please.

This question was posted originally at SINKHOLE DETECTION, WARNING SIGNS


Sharon, I found a little history, not much, of the historic mud bog explosion in Winder Georgia, often referred to as a " mud volcano ", but not much scientific data; some texts posit that the Nodoroc mud explosion in Winder was due to decaying organic matter (leaves for example) in the bog

. If that was the case, it could certainly have been a methane explosion, though what ignited the methane gas is not stated. Certainly natural forces might ignite marsh gas as might a lightning strike.

Separately from the Nodoroc mud volcano, you describe a more recent bursting of a dam in about 2014. I haven't found references to that event. You might want to see the DeKalb County, Georgia Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, February 2011, available from the DeKalb County government at

If there was a sudden flooding of the site where your home is located there could have been damage to your home including its foundation.

It is, however, very unlikely that substantial foundation damage or movement could occur at your home, particularly as it is a brick structure, but with no visible evidence such as foundation cracks, building areas out of level, interior cracks, or other damage. Certainly enough house movement to make you feel "the bottom dropping out from under [your] feet" would be visually apparent on the home itself.

I can thus suggest these steps:

1. ask for a local inspection of the visual condition of your home and site for evidence of structural movement or damage

2. be sure that you have working CO detectors and smoke detectors, and ask your inspector to screen the site for presence of high levels of methane or other combustible gases

3. check with your doctor about any health conditions that might explain the conditions you describe

"Sinkholes" that are not verified by a licensed professional geologist or geotechnical engineer to be a true sinkhole are also described in various publications as subsidence incidents.


Additional septic system safety warnings are at SEPTIC & CESSPOOL SAFETY.

The bare minimum that a property owner needs to know about sinkholes or any other sudden subsidence of soils at a property is that these conditions might be very dangerous.

Someone falling into a sink hole or into a collapsing septic tank could be seriously injured or even die.

If a suspicious hole, subsidence, or depression appears at a property the owner should rope off and prevent access to the area to prevent anyone from falling into the opening, and then should seek prompt assistance from a qualified expert, geotechnical engineer, septic contractor, excavator, or the like.

Georgia sinkhole research

Daniel Friedman - Florida Suncoast ASHI Educational Seminar - 1 May 2004, updated 2007, 2008, 2014, 2017. Portions of this text are extracted, quoted, or paraphrased from references provided; a key resource author was Sarah Cervone at Reference-1. The text document is - © 2017-2009 Daniel Friedman All Rights Reserved


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