Sinkhole instability: integrated multi-scale monitoring and analysis

Duration: 06/2015 - 05/2018

Funding: Special programme GEOTECHNOLOGIEN of BMBF

Partners: Leibniz-Institut für Angewandte Geophysik (LIAG) Hannover; Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam – Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ), Sektion Erdbeben- und Vulkanphysik;Universität Hamburg, Institut für Geophysik; GGL Geophysik und Geotechnik Leipzig GmbH;Universität Hannover, Institut für Erdmessung (IfE);TU Berlin, Institut für Angewandte Geowissenschaften (Geophysik);FU Berlin, Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften (Geophysik)

Sinkholes represent a geologic hazard that only recently came into the public focus in Germany during the past ten years. It concerns depressions or collapse structures in the earth's surface, whose extents vary between a few and hundreds of meters and who are the consequents of subrosion and dissolution processes in the underground. Especially, in urban areas they pose a severe risk to infrastructure and population. A
prominent example was the 2010 sinkhole event in Schmalkalden in Thuringia. The joint project SIMULTAN (Sinkhole instability: integrated multi-scale monitoring and analysis) aims at developing an early warning
system that recognizes instability, disturbances and collapse processes using a variety of different methods to decrease the risks connected to sinkholes.
MET's work focusses on the geophysical and hydrogeological characterization of sinkhole prone areas, amongst others by the application of Direct Push technology. By systematic parametrization of the subsurface, insights into sinkhole processes will be gathered which support modelling and the development of the early warning system. The installation of a monitoring network will provide further information on the long-term effects of sinkhole development.