Time-lapse seismic reflection imaging improved our understanding of the consistent, gradual surface subsidence ongoing at two sinkholes in the Gorham Oilfield discovered beneath a stretch of Interstate Highway 70 through Russell and Ellis Counties in Kansas in 1966. With subsidence occurring at a rate of around 10 cm per year since discovery, monitoring has been beneficial to ensure public safety and optimize maintenance. A miniSOSIE reflection survey conducted in 1980 delineated the affected subsurface and successfully predicted development of a third sinkhole at this site. In 2004 and 2005 a high-resolution vibroseis survey was completed to ascertain current conditions of the subsurface, rate and pattern of growth since 1980, and potential for continued growth. With time and improved understanding of the salt dissolution affected subsurface in this area it appears that these features represent little risk to the public from catastrophic failure. However, from an operational perspective the Kansas Department of Transportation should expect continued subsidence, with future increases in surface area likely at a slightly reduced vertical rate. Seismic characteristics appear empirically consistent with gradual earth material compaction/settling. ?? 2005 Society of Exploration Geophysicists.
Additional publication details
High-resolution seismic-reflection imaging 25 years of change in I-70 sinkhole, Russell County, Kansas