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Identification of sinkhole development mechanism based on a combined geophysical study in Nahal Hever South area (Dead Sea coast of Israel)

Abstract : Seismic refraction, magnetic resonance sounding (MRS), and the transient electromagnetic (TEM) method were applied to investigate the geological and hydrogeological conditions in the Nahal Hever South sinkhole development area at the Dead Sea (DS) coast of Israel. Microgravity and MRS results reliably reveal large karst cavity in the central part of investigated area. The map of the seismic velocity shows that sinkholes in Nahal Hever can be divided into two major groups: sinkholes close to the salt edge and sinkholes over compact salt formations between a few tens to a hundred meters from the major cavern. The present study shows that the formation of sinkholes of the first group is caused by soil collapsing into the cavern. In the area occupied by sinkholes of the second group, karst was not detected either by MRS or by seismic diffraction methods. TEM results reveal shallow clay layer saturated with DS brine underlain sinkholes of this group. It allows suggestion that the water drainage and intensive water circulation during rain events wash out fine rock particles from the unsaturated zone into the pre-existing cavern, initiating the formation of sinkholes of the second group. Karst development takes place at a very low bulk resistivity (<1 Ω m) of the DS aquifer, attesting to the fact that pores are filled with a highly saline solution. Refilling of the karstic cavities with collapsing and flushed soil slows down sinkhole development in the area. The sinkhole formation cycle at the site is estimated at 10 years. Sinkhole development throughout the studied area is triggered by a drop in the level of the DS, which reduces the head of the confined aquifer and the strength of the overlain sediments.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-00412547
Contributor : Thierry Pellarin <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, September 2, 2009 - 9:22:00 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:48:38 AM

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Michael Ezersky, Anatoly Legchenko, Christian Camerlynck, Abdallah Al-Zoubi. Identification of sinkhole development mechanism based on a combined geophysical study in Nahal Hever South area (Dead Sea coast of Israel). Environmental Geology, Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 2009, 58 (5), pp.1123-1141. ⟨10.1007/s00254-008-1591-7⟩. ⟨insu-00412547⟩

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