EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Münsterdorf sinkhole cluster: Void origin and mechanical failure

Georg Kaufmann1, Douchko Romanov1, Ulrike Werban2, and Thomas Vienken2
Georg Kaufmann et al.
  • 1Freie Universität Berlin, Dept. of Geological Sciences, Geophysics Section, Malteserstr. 74-100, 12249 Berlin, Germany (
  • 2Department Monitoring- und Erkundungstechnologien, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung - UFZ, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

We describe and explore a group of collapse sinkholes located on a
sports field in the village of Münsterdorf close to Hamburg in northern Germany.
The collapse sinkholes develop since 2004 with a rate of one per year, with
sizes between 2-3 m in diameter and 3-5 meter depth, and are aligned to
a narrow east-west trending region..
In 20 m depth, cretaceous chalk is present in the area, topped by peri-glacial
and glacial deposits.
We summarize hydrological, geodetical, and geophysical data collected
and then discuss mechanical concepts for the occurence of the collapse sinkholes,
starting with simple analytical solutions and then expanding to distinct-element modelling.
We conclude that dewatering of the area might be an important aspect for the collapse sinkhole

How to cite: Kaufmann, G., Romanov, D., Werban, U., and Vienken, T.: The Münsterdorf sinkhole cluster: Void origin and mechanical failure, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6787,, 2020

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