Chapter 29: Seismic Investigation of a Salt Dissolution Feature in Kansas
Sinkholes are common hazards to property and human safety the world over. Their formation can be initiated by natural or anthropogenically induced dissolution processes. Understanding the process responsible for sinkhole formation is key to reducing the risk of their unexpected development and, if they do form, their impact on human activities. Shallow high-resolution seismic investigations have successfully imaged salt dissolution sinkholes in central Kansas over the last 20 years (Steeples et al., 1986; Knapp et al., 1989; Miller et al., 1993; Miller et al., 1997). In almost all cases, previous studies unfortunately have been relegated to indirect inference of structural processes and subsurface expression in the salt interval (mainly from interpretations of structural deformation in layers above the salt). Resolution potential and signal-to-noise ratio of seismic data from this study enables interpretation of important structural features and unique characteristics within the salt interval controlling sinkhole development.
Figures & Tables
Near-surface geophysics uses the investigational methods of geophysics to study the nature of the very outermost part of the earth’s crust. Man interacts with this part of the earth’s crust: he walks on it; he drills and excavates into it; he constructs structures on and in it; he utilizes its water and mineral resources; and his wastes are stored on and in it and seep into it. The very outermost part of the Earth’s crust is extremely dynamic-in both technical (physical properties) and nontechnical (political, social, legal) terms-which leads to both technical and nontechnical challenges that are much different than the challenges faced by “traditional” applications of geophysics for regional geologic mapping and for oil and gas exploration (see Chapter 2).