About this Research Topic
Several predisposing factors underpin these sinkhole occurrences, such as the existence of a soluble rocks substrate (e.g. limestone rocks of the Alps/Apennines bedrocks) covered by a blanket of alluvial deposits (e.g. river and alluvial deposits) with poor geo-mechanical properties. Another common condition observed in sinkhole formation is the presence of active pressurized water circulation, which form erosive flows with upwelling branches towards the surface (deep piping). Sinkholes evolve from the basement up to the surface and manifest only in the final step of the process with the collapse of the cover. The paroxysmal phase is the end of a well established mechanism, which has evolved for some time and is completely invisible to human observation. Some natural and human factors can accelerate these phenomena, such as sudden earthquakes impulses or manmade vibrations and loads. The latter often occurs in urban areas involving citizens, cars, and infrastructure.
On the basis of the sinkhole characteristics, they develop mostly in specific sinkhole-prone regions, where different predisposing factors coexist. The study of sinkholes embraces different disciplines such as Geomorphology, Hydrogeology, and Applied Geology. Given the hidden progression of the process, a prominent place must also be reserved for Remote Sensing and Geophysics. The continuous monitoring of sinkhole prone areas through satellite data, interferometry analysis, geophysical prospecting, and the integration of the ancillary data in a Geographical Information System are important tools for effective risk mitigation. In addition, time-lapse geophysical measurements (i.e., ERT) can provide continuous checks over time, in areas where ongoing dynamics occur.
The Research Topic aims to collect state of the art papers on sinkhole studies, as well as works illustrating the interaction between applied techniques to forecast the risk.
Keywords: Sinkholes, Subsidence, Geophysical prospecting, Time lapse geophysical monitoring, Anthropocene landforms, Natural hazard
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