High-resolution seismic reflections have been used effectively to investigate sinkholes formed from the dissolution of a bedded salt unit found throughout most of Central Kansas. Surface subsidence can have devastating effects on transportation structures. Roads, rails, bridges, and pipelines can even be dramatically affected by minor ground instability. Areas susceptible to surface subsidence can put public safety at risk. Subsurface expressions significantly larger than surface depressions are consistently observed on seismic images recorded over sinkholes in Kansas. Until subsidence reaches the ground surface, failure appears to be controlled by compressional forces evidenced by faults with reverse orientation. Once a surface depression forms or dissolution of the salt slows or stops, subsidence structures are consistent with a tensional stress environment with prevalent normal faults. Detecting areas of rapid subsidence potential, prior to surface failure, is the ultimate goal of any geotechnical survey where the ground surface is susceptible to settling. Seismic reflection images have helped correlate active subsidence to dormant paleofeatures, project horizontal growth of active sinkholes based on subsurface structures, and appraise the risk of catastrophic failure. ?? China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009.