Corvettes in a cave: applying geophysics to a classic car tragedy

February 12, 2014, was a tragic day for Corvette lovers around the world. Shortly after 5:30am, surveillance cameras inside the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA, captured stunning footage of a sinkhole opening up and swallowing eight classic Corvette cars.

Although sometimes heartbreaking and rarely recorded on video, sinkhole collapses are not uncommon in this part of south-central Kentucky. The area is known for its karst topography, characterised by sinkholes and caves formed when limestone is eroded by groundwater dissolution. The world's longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave, is just a short drive away from the museum.

Within hours of the disaster occurring, a team of museum staff, general contractors, geotechnical and civil engineers, karst scientists, and Corvette enthusiasts had assembled onsite to survey the damage and guide the recovery.

Geologist, and cave enthusiast, Brian Ham, was a member of the EnSafe team engaged to design and conduct a geophysical survey to map the extent of the collapse. 

Read the Earth Explorer article to learn how the team used 2D microgravity combined with a high-resolution cave survey, drilling information and geologic data to create a detailed model of the collapse that assisted with geotechnical remediation of the site.

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