Seismic reflection images of dissolution subsidence features prior to surface expression provide insights into potential growth mechanisms, development rates, and sinkhole risk. Vertical growth of small depressions or drape in reflectors several hundred meters below ground surface and in proximity to major salt dissolution sinkholes appear to be controlled by active dissolution in deeper salt layers and the size and competence of the unsupported span of roof rock. Gradual failure and continued upward movement of voids characterized by reflector drape are confined to the inverted cone geometry defining the stress regime or tensional dome. Time-lapse imaging of these yet-to-emerge sinkholes could provide key parameters for developing empirical-based models of sinkhole development. Ideally, these models would allow reasonable estimations of growth rates and mature sinkhole areal expressions.


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