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Control the Drainage: the Gospel Accorded to Sinkholes (2015 Glossop Lecture repeat), Nottingham

10 October, 2016 | 18:00 - 20:00

A look into sinkholes and how they come about.
A look into sinkholes and how they come about.

About this event

Karst is a landscape that is distinguished by underground drainage normally formed on limestone or gypsum. Its impact on engineering geology is the distinctive suite of karst geohazards, which are largely related to the holes in the ground of varying size and unpredictable nature. The most widespread and frequent geohazard is the development of new sinkholes by suffosion within the soil profile over a cavernous limestone.

New suffosion sinkholes are nearly all formed by rainstorms, new drainage inputs or water table decline. Rock collapse developing new sinkholes represents a further geohazard. Most sinkholes in soil and most collapses on rock are induced, wholly or partially, by civil engineering activities, and are therefore largely avoidable if the gospel of drainage control is obeyed.

Event materials

The following materials are available for download:


Tony Waltham

Tony left Imperial College, London in 1968, with a first degree in geology and a PhD in mining geology. He took up a lectureship in the institution now known as Nottingham-Trent University, where he taught miners until he moved into the civil engineering department.

Through immersion in this new profession he moved gradually into engineering geology. His long list of published works includes numerous academic papers, accounts in more popular style, and more than a dozen books. As lead author of Sinkholes and Subsidence: Karst and Cavernous Rocks in Engineering and Construction, Tony compiled an in-depth review of the processes, geo-hazards, mitigation measures and potential remediation for new sinkholes, and other styles of ground failure in karst.

He has been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship (for cave exploration in the Himalayas), a Cuthbert Peek Award from the Royal Geographical Society (largely for work on the Gunung Mulu Expedition to Borneo), a Bisat Medal from the Yorkshire Geological Society (for contributions to applied geology) and a Halstead Medal from the Geologist' Association (for work on geological publications), besides the Glossop Medal from the Geological Society.