Erosion a concern due to heavy rains

Posted at: 09/17/2013 6:43 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Florida. Louisiana. The Southeast. This is where we have seen deadly sinkholes.

We don't expect this to happen in New Mexico, but it did on I-40 west of Albuquerque.

NMDOT stated that they "discovered an area surrounding a median drop inlet had succumbed to flooding and eroded, causing the inlet to fail."

So we could accurately call that a sinkhole, right?

Not exactly, says Dr. Grant Meyer, a geology professor at UNM.

"We don't have that kind of geology here or environment that leads to those large sinkhole collapses," Meyer stated.

However, there's still cause for concern.  Some homes are built on top of what geologists call "collapsible soils."  So a deluge of rain can give homeowners that sinking feeling.

Another fact of life in New Mexico; erosion that happens below ground called piping.

Any place where there's buried infrastructure and you have that soft and relatively un- compacted material in the subsurface provides a conduit for water to run through.

That type of event occurred in March of 2013, where a water main broke on Second near Prosperity, causing the ground to cave in.

If you would like to find out if your house or neighborhood is on top of "collapsible soil" click on the link below.

http://geoinfo.nmt.edu/geoscience/hazards/collabsible.html