Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sinkhole opens up at Kansas golf course.

Part of the fairway at the Canyon Farms Golf Course in Lenexa, Kansas has had to be closed after a large sinkhole opened up on the course on Friday 19 June 2015. Nobody was injured by the event, however the hole, which is about 3 m deep, presents a major obstacle to golfers, and it is not clear at the current time what can be done to repair the course.

Aerial photograph of the Canyon Farms Golf Course sinkhole. KCTV5.

Sinkholes are generally caused by water eroding soft limestone or unconsolidated deposits from beneath, causing a hole that works its way upwards and eventually opening spectacularly at the surface. Where there are unconsolidated deposits at the surface they can infill from the sides, apparently swallowing objects at the surface, including people, without trace. Potash, a potassium salt, is readily soluble and can be dissolved quickly if water gains access to deposits, leading to the rapid formation of sinkholes.

The approximate location of the Canyon Farms Golf Course sinkhole. Google Maps.

The Canyon Farms Golf Course is known to have been partially constructed over an old limestone mine, and this appears to have been the cause of the sinkhole. It is likely that heavy rain in the past weeks has led both to water-logging of surface sediments (increasing their weight) and weakening of buried limestone deposits from which extraction previously occurred. Rainfall can be acidified by carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the water to form carbonic acid, which presents no immediate health threat to humans but which attacks limestone vigorously. 

See also...

A Sheridan Police Department SUV was swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up beneath it unexpectedly at about 2.15 am local time on Friday 5 June 2015. The single occupant of the vehicle, police sergeant Greg Miller, was able to craw out of the hole, which was...


A pair of giant sinkholes have appeared at the Top of the Rock Golf Course in Taney County, Missouri, on Friday 22 May 2014. The larger of the two sinkholes measures 25 m across by 10 m deep, while the...


A US Marine has died after falling into a 20 m sinkhole while hunting deer in near Buckthorn in Pulaski County, Missouri, on the evening of Monday 16 September 2013. It is thought that the sinkhole opened up in...


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