The Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, generally known as “The Sinkhole Conference,” is the longest-running international conference of its type. Since 1984, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, land managers, biologists, and many others have gathered at these meetings to exchange cutting-edge information on karst and its many benefits and challenges. The Sinkhole Conference is managed by the National Cave and Karst Research Institute and this next conference is jointly organized with the Karst Waters Institute.
The Multidisciplinary Conference on Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst, generally called “The Sinkhole Conference,” is the longest-running international conference of its type. Since 1984, engineers, geologists, hydrologists, land managers, biologists, and many others have gathered at these meetings to exchange cutting-edge information on karst and its many benefits and challenges. Abstracts may be submitted until 15 August 2017, after which will be the time to submit your papers to accompany your abstracts. The papers of past Sinkhole Conferences have made those proceedings highly sought and widely cited. We expect the proceedings of the upcoming meeting will be the best yet.
Following flooding in September 2013, several areas along Lakewood Road and Lake Road in northern Eddy County, New Mexico, were damaged by multiple sinkhole collapses. Pettigrew & Associates contracted NCKRI to conduct electrical resistivity (ER) surveys for cavities to guide road repairs. NCKRI agreed to conduct this research to assist in solving a threat to public safety in addition to collecting additional geophysical data, to include in its database for future detailed studies of ER data collection methods and analyses.
The sinkholes in the study area, cover collapse sinkholes, form by the piping of soil and alluvium into underlying karstic cavities. Their position along the two roads is the result of drainage channels along either side of each road, which have promoted groundwater recharge in these linear areas for many years. The piping of the unconsolidated materials created cavities in the alluvium that slowly stoped up toward the surface and into the soil. The flood of September 2013 focused substantially greater flow down into the soil in the channels until the cavities became sufficiently large and unstable to collapse and breach the surface. A visual survey of the area by Pettigrew and NCKRI personnel on 12 February 2014 supported this hypothesis, finding that collapse and related features appeared to diminish with distance from the roads (Figure 1). Subsequent interviews with Lakewood residents revealed additional karstic fissures and sinkholes occurring several tens of meters from the roads, but still indicating the majority were concentrated along the drainage channels.
This study examines “caves and karst” because not all caves and related features are karstic. Pseudokarst collectively describes cavernous landscapes and features formed by non-karstic processes. Pseudokarst caves formed by wind, stream, and sea and lake erosion of cliffs, fracturing of rock and soil, and out-washing of sediment from under a cap of harder material are typically small compared to karst caves. Volcanic caves, notably lava tubes formed by the draining of molten rock beneath a cooled, solidified roof, can be long and complex.