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Land Subsidence, Salt Dissolution

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Executive Summary

Foreword--William J. Ebanks, Jr.

Foreword, 1976 (Solution Mining Research Institute)


Part 1: Salt Deposits of Kansas: Regional Geology

Hutchinson Salt Member of the Wellington Formation



Natural dissolution



Younger Permian Salts in Kansas

Lower Cimmaron Salt

Blaine Salt

Commercial development

Land subsidence

Part II: Land Subsidence Areas Associated with Salt Mining

Hutchinson, Kansas: Local Geology--Salt Resources

Unconsolidated Pleistocene beds

Bedrock; Permian formations

Salt resources

Wire line geophysical logs

Roof rocks above the Hutchinson Salt

Relation of roof rock failure to method of salt mining

Hutchinson, Kansas: Early Land Subsidence Areas

Three known areas

Morton Plant, 1914

Carey Salt Company, 1925

Barton Salt Company plant, 1952

Subsidence: Cargill Plant Site, 1974

Sequence of events

Area affected

Sources of information

Airlift Field

Early indication of subsidence

Historical background Cargill plant

Post-subsidence Activities and Investigations

Cargill, Inc.

Missouri-Pacific Railroad

State of Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Solution Mining Research Institute, Inc., Investigation

Cause, Mechanism, and Time Framework: 1974 Sinkhole


Mechanism and time factors

Kanopolis, Kansas: Land Subsidence Due to Cratering of Salt Mine Shaft

Subsidence sequence

Mine history; Crystal Salt Mine

Information, shaft and mine deterioration, Little River Salt Mine shaft

Volumetric data, Little River Mine

Application to Crystal Mine, Kanopolis, Ellsworth County

Part III: Land Subsidence Areas Associated with Oil and Gas Operations in Kansas

General Statements

Land subsidence: a rare event

Similarity to subsidence areas due to salt mining

Related to salt water disposal systems

Oil production, central Kansas

Oil-field subsidence areas

Possible undetected oil-related subsidence areas

Salt Dissolution in Oil and Gas Test Holes During Drilling

Methods of investigation

Caliper logs

Cementing experience

Neutron logs

Recovery of objects or tools, termed "fishing"

Calculation of salinity of the drilling fluid

Holes drilled with cable tools

Salt Dissolution in Oil and Gas Test Holes after Drilling

Method of investigation


Case histories--no surface casing

Recognition of salt dissolution

Hutchinson Salt in the Chase-Silica Oil Field

Chase-Silica oil field

Thickness and quality of salt

Salt dissolution in early tests during drilling

Salt dissolution within the Chase-Silica oil field after drilling

Panning Sinkhole--Barton County, Kansas

Well History, Panning 11-A

Observations by witnesses

Postulated sequence of events

Berscheit Sinkhole

Hilton Subsidence Area

Hutchinson Salt in the Gorham Oil field

Gorham oil field

Thickness and quality, Hutchinson Salt

Cross Section, Gorham oil field

Aquifers in the Gorham oil field

History of brine disposal--Gorham oil field

History of well plugging

Present status, aquifers, Gorham oil field

Surface Subsidence Areas--Gorham oil field

History of investigation

Direct evidence of dissolution of salt

Evidence for solution of salt by other than surface water

Source of water dissolving salt

Present status, Crawford Sink

Present status, Witt Sink




Appendix A--List of Localities Mapped in Figure 3

A. Subsidence Areas Related to Mining of Salt

B. Subsidence Areas Related to Oil and Gas Operations

C. Salt Test Holes, Cored

D. Underground (Dry) Salt Mines

E. Solution Well Fields

F. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Stored in Salt Cavities

Appendix B--List of Borings, Oil Test Holes, Salt Test Holes, and Water Wells used in the Construction of Cross Section A-B, Figure 2

Appendix C--Wells and Shafts, Cross Section C-D, Figure 4

Appendix D--Field Investigations at Cargill Sinkhole in 1977


Drilling Program

Interpretation of Borehole Results

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web July 24, 2009; originally published February 1978.
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