UT Geologist Says Tennessee Rockslides Not Uncommon

Knoxville – A University of Tennessee geologist says it-s not unusual to see rockslides like the recent one in Sevier County that damaged a home.

The house belonging to Heather Hurst, of Sevierville, was damaged in the early morning of February 23 when the hillside behind it collapsed and sent rocks tumbling into the home-s rear walls.

Doctor Bob Hatcher said weather may have played a part in the collapse.

“Because of the heavy rains we-ve had recently, that might have been the thing that triggered it,” Hatcher said. “But the circumstances of the rockslide were related to the fact that the developer had undercut the slope so that it became unstable and produced a landslide.”

Hatcher said the topography of East Tennessee makes landslides more likely to occur.

“It-s a bigger problem than other parts of the country, because we have more steep slopes, especially in Sevier County,” Hatcher said. “We have the chance of having more landslides, and it-s been known for some time.”

No one was hurt in the accident.