Click here to go to the UNF website
Project GEO

Geotechnical Engineering
Earth Science Outreach

Dr. Nick Hudyma
The University of North Florida
Bo Smith
Terry Parker High School

Spring 2005 Term Projects

Laboratory Simulation of Sinkhole Formation
  Last Updated: May 9th, 2005

 "Sinkhole Sisters"
Alisha Keys (left) & Brandy Johnson (right)

Laboratory Simulation of Sinkhole Formation

Our project, Laboratory Simulation of Sinkhole Formation, was project to demonstrate how sinkholes form. To start our project we set up a laboratory simulation, which included a five (5) piece plexi- glass box, six (6) pounds of sugar cubes as limestone and clay with small holes and sand as soil. There was one (1) plexi- glass plate to act as a rock layer. When we finished the setup of the simulation, we connected water droppers to act as rain and studied how rain was used to form sinkholes.
While conducting our simulation we learned that once the rain soaked through the soil into the limestone and hit the rock layer and it sat there. After awhile it started to dissolve the limestone. Once the limestone was almost gone the soil had no support. This caused the soil to collapse, forming a sinkhole.
At the end of our simulation we concluded that the water drops had caused our simulation to collapse, forming a laboratory simulation of a sinkhole. Our simulation moved very fast once the water soaked though the soil into the limestone, which caused the sugar cubes to dissolve away.

Image Gallery of Our Project

  Using clamps to hold plexi glass together

glueing the plexi glass to make a box 

  sealing our box for leaks

placing sugar cubes in the box  for limestone

placing clay over all the sugar cubes

pushing the clay into every crack and corner

poking holes in the clay so water can get through

shoveling sand over the clay 

setting up web cam so we can take pictures

testing our web cam

putting our pictures in order for our movie