Detecting a sinkhole: New device geared for homeowners – wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Detecting a sinkhole: New device geared for homeowners Karst map for the state of Kentucky (Source: Kentucky Geological Society)Karst map for the state of Kentucky (Source: Kentucky Geological Society) Map showing Karst in Indiana. (Source: Indiana Geological Survey)Map showing Karst in Indiana. (Source: Indiana Geological Survey) Matt Dettman developed MSEDS, short for Mechanical Sinkhole Early Detection System.Matt Dettman developed MSEDS, short for Mechanical Sinkhole Early Detection System.LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It could cost big bucks to detect whether a sinkhole could open up, but soon there may be a device developed in Kentucky to keep families safe nationwide.MORESLIDESHOW: How karst sinkholes formLearn how karst sinkholes form and whether or not you live in an at risk area.MoreGeological surveys to predict a sinkhole cost tens of thousands of dollars. Companies shell out $10,000 to $20,000 for a geotechnical and subsurface investigation before construction.The process isn't necessarily feasible for everyday people.However, a Western Kentucky University Geotechnical Engineer developed a device to detect what's happening beneath your feet.Karst terrain covers more than half of Kentucky. Karst sinkholes form when the bedrock of the Earth is slowly worn away by erosion.[SLIDESHOW: How karst sinkholes form]Under the top soil is a layer called the overburden. Under that is bedrock, which may seem tough and solid, but it's actually filled with cracks and crevices water is constantly seeping through and infiltrating. As the water erodes the bedrock, the overburden starts to fall down into the space left behind. Years later, all that's left is a thin layer and the potential for a sinkhole to open up.However, if there's a slab over the surface you may not know there's a problem until it's too late. That's why Matt Dettman developed MSEDS, short for Mechanical Sinkhole Early Detection System. Dettman is a WKU Associate Professor of Civil Engineering [...]

Drilling in Southwest Indiana at a 15-year peak

Indiana State officials say Southwest Indiana is experiencing a boom in oil and gas exploration, with a peak number of wells drilled over the past 15 years. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas released a report earlier this week that says oil and gas wells are being drilled in Indiana "At a pace that hasn't been seen for at least 15 years," according to Herschel McDivitt, director of the DNR Division of Oil and Gas. DNR officials say the division issued more than 450 drilling permits in 2006, a number that McDivitt expects to steadily increase during the next several years, due to the anticipated higher prices for crude oil and natural gas. "This is an exciting time to be in the oil and gas business," McDivitt said in a press release announcing the news. "While much of the interest is in drilling for crude oil, a growing number of wells are being drilled for natural gas, especially in the southwestern part of Indiana where companies are actively developing wells." McDivitt acknowledged that along with the increase in drilling applications has come a significant number of questions from landowners who have been approached by companies seeking to obtain leases from the landowners allowing them to drill on their properties. "Many landowners are unfamiliar with the process of leasing their land for oil and gas and are seeking more information about oil and gas operations and looking to find answers to their questions," McDivitt said. DNR has also made some changes in the Division of Oil and Gas's organizational structure. Jim AmRhein will be responsible for all inspections and compliance- related functions within the division's program. Previously, AmRhein was in charge of all permitting functions, as well as inspections and enforcement duties in central and northern [...]