On June 11, 2002, a 150-foot wide and 60-foot deep sinkhole opened up in Pine Hills, Florida and came within a few feet of two 3-story appartment buildings. Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants (GEC) was contacted by the owner of the site to design emergency temporary and permanent stabilization measures to protect the buildings. The sinkhole mitigation began with a chemical stabilization of the soil using an injected sodium silicate chemical grout (incidentally, that work was performed by John N. Puder, Inc., recently acquired by Moretrench) to stabilize the sands underneath the buildings and adjacent to the sinkhole. After some GPR surveys, borings and other investigations, final sinkhole repair consisted of a 200-foot long wall omprised of interlocked 36-inch diameter steel tubular piles that extended to a depth of 50 feet. They were driven by Giken America Corp. using the press-in method which helped to avoid damage to the adjacent buildings. The entire stabilization was completed within 1-month of the initial sinkhole collapse! Click through for this fascinating video. (Photo credit Giken America Corp. by way of GEC)
The site for the new Harrison County Hospital, approximately 25-miles west of Louisville, Kentucky had 15 sinkholes formed by limestone dissolution, a geomorphologic process referred to as Karst topography. There were a number of geotechnical engineering and geological engineering challenges associated with the characterization, excavation, backfilling, foundation engineering and other mitigation measures as described by Peggy Hagerty Duffy, P.E. in her article entitled “Karst and Complications” in the August 2008 issue of Civil Engineering Magazine (Duffy, 2008b).
Mitigation measures for the sinkholes included use of graded filters with geotextiles, careful inspection of rock socket foundations along with pilot holes and careful geotechnical inspection throughout the construction process. One particularly interesting aspect of the project is that several of the sinkholes were used as drainage facilities to receive surface water runoff. Read on for a summary of this interesting article. (Photo of sinkhole in Karst Topography being used as a drainage feature, from Duffy (2008b), Civil Engineering Magazine)
A colleague of mine (thanks Jamie!) sent me an email with this intriguing title. I have no idea where it originated, but it is an interesting compilation of some amazing photos and short descriptions of various natural and man-made "holes". A few sinkholes, glory holes, and of course open pit mines. By the way I didn’t write (or edit) this, just some minor formatting updates. Check it out.