The sinkholes are a little less than a mile apart, but that distance is closing as the land directly around both holes subsides about 2 inches each year.

Wink sinkholes

New York Daily News journalist Anthony Izaguirre covered the research of SMU geophysicists Zhong Lu, professor, Shuler-Foscue Chair, and Jin-Woo Kim research scientist, both in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU. Izaguirre’s article, “Giant sinkholes in Texas are growing, may collide: study,” published June 16, 2016.

The Dedman College geophysicists are co-authors of a new analysis using satellite radar images to reveal ground movement of two giant sinkholes near Wink, Texas. They found that the movement suggests the two existing holes are expanding, and new ones are forming as nearby subsidence occurs at an alarming rate.

Lu is world-renowned for leading scientists in InSAR applications, short for a technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar, to detect surface changes that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Lu is a member of the Science Definition Team for the dedicated U.S. and Indian NASA-ISRO InSAR mission, set for launch in 2020 to study hazards and global environmental change.

InSAR accesses a series of images captured by a read-out radar instrument mounted on the orbiting satellite Sentinel-1A. Sentinel-1A was launched in April 2014 as part of the European Union’s Copernicus program.

Lu and Kim reported the findings in the scientific journal Remote Sensing, in the article “Ongoing deformation of sinkholes in Wink, Texas, observed by time-series Sentinel-1A SAR Interferometry.”

The research was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey Land Remote Sensing Program, the NASA Earth Surface & Interior Program, and the Shuler-Foscue Endowment at Southern Methodist University.

Read the full story.


By Anthony Izaguirre
New York Daily News

Two massive, rapidly expanding sinkholes in Texas are at risk of collapsing into each other and causing a “catastrophic” natural disaster, scientists warned.

Geophysicists at Southern Methodist University found that the land around the gaping sinkholes between the west Texas towns of Wink and Kermit is deteriorating — which could end up either forming more holes or creating one giant sinkhole.

These sinkholes, which were caused by the area’s oil and gas extraction industries, are nothing new to Texas residents.

The first hole, Wink Sink #1, opened up in 1980 and is currently about as wide as a football field.

Wink Sink #2, the larger of the two holes, opened in 2002 and stretches for 900 feet at its widest point.

The sinkholes are a little less than a mile apart, but that distance is closing as the land directly around both holes subsides about 2 inches each year.

“This area is heavily populated with oil and gas production equipment and installations, hazardous liquid pipelines, as well as two communities,” Jin-Woo Kim, a coauthor of the report, said in a statement. “A collapse could be catastrophic.”

Read the full story.

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