High-resolution seismic reflections were used to map the upper 200 m along an approximately 22 km stretch of U.S. 50 highway in Reno County, Kansas, where natural and anthropogenic salt dissolution is known to threaten ground stability. Surface subsidence in this part of Kansas can range from gradual (cm per year) to catastrophic (meter per second), representing a significant risk to public safety. The high signal-to-noise ratio and resolution of these seismic reflection data allowed detection, delineation, and evaluation of several abnormalities in the rock salt layer and overlying Permian sediments. Locations were identified where failure and associated episodes of material collapse into voids left after periodic and localized leaching of the 125 m deep, 40 m thick Permian Hutchinson Salt member were evident. Anhydrite and shale layers several meters thick within the salt are uniquely distinguishable and appear continuous for distances of several kilometers. Over a dozen unique features potentially related to subsidence risk were identified.


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