Poster Title

Bedrock Collapse Sinkhole Analysis in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

Western Kentucky University

KY House District #

20

KY Senate District #

32

Department

Geography and Geology

Abstract

Warren County, Kentucky is located atop bedrock consisting of Mississippian age limestones eroded by dissolution which formed sinking streams, springs, caverns and sinkholes. Though sinkholes are common throughout the state, southcentral Kentucky has the highest density. The most common type of sinkhole in Kentucky is the cover (or sediment) collapse which occurs in the soil or other loose material that overlies soluble bedrock. A second type of sinkhole is called a bedrock collapse, which occurs when the ceiling of a cave collapses, exposing the cave passage to the surface. In Warren County, Kentucky there are over 350 cave entrances and more than 30 km of cave passages. Despite that, bedrock collapse sinkholes are relatively rare. However, since 2001 two significant bedrock collapse sinkholes have occurred in the city of Bowling Green including the Dishman Lane collapse in 2001 and the Corvette Museum collapse in 2014. Both affected human infrastructure and were remediated at great expense. The purpose of this study was to determine the risk of bedrock collapse sinkholes as a geohazard in Bowling Green, Kentucky and to produce a bedrock collapse risk map indicating those areas that may be at risk. Known cave entrances were assessed to determine if they were caused by bedrock collapse or other processes. Bedrock collapses and associated cave passages along with geology were plotted on a GIS basemap and overburden was measured and calculated above known cave systems. Landuse and infrastructure locations were also plotted as a layer on the map. Areas of high risk were identified where overburden is thin over cave passages, where geologic fractures are evident and where infrastructure is located. Areas without existing infrastructure were also noted. Potential bedrock collapse zones were identified and highlighted on the map. There are over 350 cave entrances in Warren County and more than 30 km of cave passages and among those bedrock collapse sinkholes are relatively rare.

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Bedrock Collapse Sinkhole Analysis in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Warren County, Kentucky is located atop bedrock consisting of Mississippian age limestones eroded by dissolution which formed sinking streams, springs, caverns and sinkholes. Though sinkholes are common throughout the state, southcentral Kentucky has the highest density. The most common type of sinkhole in Kentucky is the cover (or sediment) collapse which occurs in the soil or other loose material that overlies soluble bedrock. A second type of sinkhole is called a bedrock collapse, which occurs when the ceiling of a cave collapses, exposing the cave passage to the surface. In Warren County, Kentucky there are over 350 cave entrances and more than 30 km of cave passages. Despite that, bedrock collapse sinkholes are relatively rare. However, since 2001 two significant bedrock collapse sinkholes have occurred in the city of Bowling Green including the Dishman Lane collapse in 2001 and the Corvette Museum collapse in 2014. Both affected human infrastructure and were remediated at great expense. The purpose of this study was to determine the risk of bedrock collapse sinkholes as a geohazard in Bowling Green, Kentucky and to produce a bedrock collapse risk map indicating those areas that may be at risk. Known cave entrances were assessed to determine if they were caused by bedrock collapse or other processes. Bedrock collapses and associated cave passages along with geology were plotted on a GIS basemap and overburden was measured and calculated above known cave systems. Landuse and infrastructure locations were also plotted as a layer on the map. Areas of high risk were identified where overburden is thin over cave passages, where geologic fractures are evident and where infrastructure is located. Areas without existing infrastructure were also noted. Potential bedrock collapse zones were identified and highlighted on the map. There are over 350 cave entrances in Warren County and more than 30 km of cave passages and among those bedrock collapse sinkholes are relatively rare.