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Investigation of Sinkhole Formation with Human Influence: A Case Study from Wink Sink in Winkler County, Texas

1
Department of Geosciences, University of Texas - Permian Basin, Odessa, TX 79762, USA
2
Department of Real Estate, Graduate School of Tourism, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3537; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093537
Received: 1 March 2020 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 20 April 2020 / Published: 26 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
The formation of sinkholes in Winkler County, Texas is concerning due to the amount of oil and gas infrastructure and the potential for catastrophic losses. Evidences of new and potential sinkholes have been documented, and determining the cause of these sinkholes is paramount to mitigate the devastating consequences thereof. Studies have shown that the Wink sinkholes result from both natural and anthropogenic influences. Data depicting land-cover changes, alterations in the hydrologic systems, climate changes, and oil and gas activity were analyzed in an effort to better understand the link between these processes and sinkhole formation. Results indicate that the combination of these processes lead to the current state. Land cover changes were highest in shrub versus grasses, undeveloped to developed and croplands. Rises in temperature and a decrease in precipitation indicate a shift towards a more arid climate. Changes to the hydraulic system are a direct result of these land cover changes while the groundwater quality depicts an environment prone to dissolution. Historical oil and gas activities have created pathways of meteoric water infiltration to the underlying limestone and evaporite formation. The combination of these processes create an environment that accelerates sinkhole formations. Understanding these processes allows for the development and implementation of better land practices, better groundwater protections, and the need for monitoring and maintaining aging oil and gas infrastructure. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wink sink; sinkhole; oil and gas developments; anthropogenic activities; environmental causes; Texas Wink sink; sinkhole; oil and gas developments; anthropogenic activities; environmental causes; Texas
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MDPI and ACS Style

English, S.; Heo, J.; Won, J. Investigation of Sinkhole Formation with Human Influence: A Case Study from Wink Sink in Winkler County, Texas. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3537. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093537

AMA Style

English S, Heo J, Won J. Investigation of Sinkhole Formation with Human Influence: A Case Study from Wink Sink in Winkler County, Texas. Sustainability. 2020; 12(9):3537. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093537

Chicago/Turabian Style

English, Shannon; Heo, Joonghyeok; Won, Jaewoong. 2020. "Investigation of Sinkhole Formation with Human Influence: A Case Study from Wink Sink in Winkler County, Texas" Sustainability 12, no. 9: 3537. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093537

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