The sinkholes in West Texas we’ve told you about in recent years are reportedly growing in size and number. Scientists say new satellite radar remote-sensing data shows the unstable and sinking ground connected to abandoned oil wells and water wells has spread to six sites in four counties.
Most of the sinkholes are near the town of Wink, Texas and originally started appearing in 1980.
But the new satellite data has the attention of geophysicist Zhong Lu at Southern Methodist University’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences according to the Cleburne Times-Review.
“I’m very concerned about the safety of the roads,” said Lu. “I’m even more concerned about the safety of the underground pipelines.”
The new development also caught the attention of the Texas Department of Transportation where Gene Powell is a spokesman for the Odessa district.
He told the newspaper the spread of sagging and uplifting ground is “something that’s on our radar.” Powell indicated the department already has realigned one mile of a road because the growing sinkhole “crept into our right of way.”
The DOT official said the department is waiting to decide whether to completely reroute the road, a project that would be about 20 miles in length. The intrusion into the right of way by a sinkhole is actually in Pecos County, nearly 75 miles from the Wink site.