Winkler County sinkholes growing, according to new study - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Winkler County sinkholes growing, according to new study

Photo of sinkhole in Winkler County (Source: KWES) Photo of sinkhole in Winkler County (Source: KWES)
WINKLER COUNTY, TX (KWES) -

According to a recent study by Southern Methodist University, the two infamous sinkholes in Winkler County are growing and the smaller one is a potential threat as it is growing faster.   

Winkler County Sheriff George Keely said the smaller one is the one he's least worried about but either way, they're both next to highways and could collapse over time.

The study on the sinkholes done by SMU stated that the smaller sinkhole has been growing faster thanks to the intrusion of fresh water that is degrading the salt in the ground.

Keely said that he drives by them every day and he thinks it's the bigger one that continues to grow.

"It hasn't grown too much that I can see and I see them all the time, I go check on them,” said Keely. “The second hole's a little bit south, East of there, maybe a mile, as the crow flies. It occurred the better part of 20 years ago and it has constantly been growing."

One thing researchers and Keely can agree on is the land north of the sinkholes appears to be worsening every day.           

"It's still very active,” said Keely. “If you see the ground out there, the ground around it is always changing. Crevices and fishers and it gets lower, it's still active."           

Keely said something else he's worried about is the safety of residents, as they do occasionally try to sneak in to see the sinkholes. He said when they find them, it could result in an arrest and up to a $400 fine. Keely said that if you are around and do notice one that's beginning to collapse you should call 911 and get out of the area immediately.

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