Radio Story: Wink’s Sinkholes are Growing and It’s the Pits
Note: The following news story aired on the 22 Texas public radio stations affiliated with Texas Standard, including Houston’s KUHF radio.
In small-town West Texas, two small sinkholes have grown to more than a football field wide – each. In the future, two could become one.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas: monster trucks, beef ribs and … sinkholes?
Lots of sinkholes have been popping up around Texas recently. A garbage truck fell into a sinkhole in Austin earlier this month. A giant sinkhole in Daisetta in 2008 swallowed a tractor and storage tanks.
The town of Wink has two large sinkholes – one from the 1980s and another that opened up on 2002. The first sinkhole is about the size of a football field and the other is over double the size. But residents don’t seem to be too worried about them, even though they’re growing. Residents just ask that you refrain from ogling them up close. Now a new study from Southern Methodist University found the two could converge into one massive hole.
Dr. Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of the Petroleum Geosciences Programs at the University of Houston, says the sinkholes are both a natural occurrence and a man-made one.
“It’s actually a relatively simple, almost natural process that’s been coerced along by human activity – and that’s probably producing water out of the aquifer that’s nearby in their efforts to produce oil,” Van Nieuwenhuise says.
What you’ll hear in this segment:
- What made these massive holes appear in the first place
- How water and oil removal can create sinkholes
- Could the sinkholes merge?
- Alex Daily, Texas Standard