Geoscientist Joins Team Studying Massive Sinkhole

May 20, 2008

A UT Dallas researcher is working with geological scientists from two other universities to study a gargantuan sinkhole that has swallowed a huge chunk of the East Texas town of Daisetta.

Dr. Carlos Aiken
Dr. Carlos Aiken

Professor Carlos Aiken of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics was to arrive Monday at the sinkhole site to conduct detailed measurements with the aim of assessing whether the sinkhole is growing.

Dr. Aiken is working with researchers from Louisiana State University and the University of Idaho.

The team will work with a terrestrial laser scanner combined with Global Positioning System (GPS) and high-resolution photography to image the surface expression of the sinkhole to accuracies of a few millimeters.

The team will also use high-resolution GPS measurements to assess vertical and horizontal motion in a broad area around the sinkhole.

The sinkhole, about 60 miles northeast of Houston, has grown to more than 900 feet across and 300 feet deep.

With repeated measurements, the team will be able to monitor activity and determine the sinkhole’s possible growth rate.


Media contacts:  Audrey Glickert, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4320, audrey.glickert@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Sinkhole near Daisetta

UT Dallas researchers and their colleagues stand near instrumentation used to gauge the sinkhole’s movement.

Researchers studying sinkhole

Researchers operate a scanner from the sinkhole’s edge, where ground fracturing suggests further collapses are likely.

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