Release Date: April 22, 2009
Ross Giese, Ph.D., a professor of geology in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences and an expert on clay, is available to discuss the factors that might have played a part in the collapse of the porch along Tonawanda Creek last night. Giese notes that he has not extensively studied the soil in the area himself.
"A reasonable hypothesis would be that the soil there is similar to the clay that was causing the houses in East Amherst to sink," he said. "The difference is that here, they're not sinking, they're moving laterally."
Giese added that 12,000 years ago, the area was home to Lake Tonawanda, which formed as the glaciers melted and receded. "As Lake Tonawanda drained, it left all kinds of wet, fine-grained material behind. With time, the surface of this mud hardened but underneath it likely is still water logged and potentially unstable," he said.
Giese can be reached at 716-645-6800, x3008.