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‘Sinkhole Capital’: This US Town Has More Sinkholes Than People

The self-proclaimed “Sinkhole Capital” of the United States is located in Minnesota

When you think of Minnesota, things like Lake Superior, the Mall of America and the Twin Cities probably come to mind first.

But what you may not know is that the midwestern state is also home to the “Sinkhole Capital” of the United States.

Located about two hours south of the Twin Cities is a small Fillmore County town called Fountain, where the number of citizens pales in comparison to the number of sinkholes.

There are roughly 10,000 sinkholes in Fillmore County, with the majority of them located in Fountain. The population of Fountain, meanwhile, is well under 1,000.

“We are the self-proclaimed sinkhole capital of the USA,” Sara Sturgis, who is the Fillmore County Historical Society’s executive director, told KARE 11.

Why have so many sinkholes formed in Fountain? Well, it’s the result of something called karst topography.

According to the National Park Service, karst landscapes generally form “when much of the water falling on the surface interacts with and enters the subsurface through cracks, fractures, and holes that have been dissolved into the bedrock.” In the case of sinkholes, the “land surface sinks due to underground bedrock dissolution or cave collapse.”

“Unlike places like Florida or Mexico, where they have a higher water table, the activity is so much more dramatic there,” Sturgis explained. “Here it’s not massively active, this stuff is happening over eons.”

Sturgis estimated that 8,000 tourists travel through the area each summer, with a lot of them asking how to see the sinkholes.

“It is literally once a day from May through, even I would say, October,” Sturgis said. “So, I think we’re responding to this greater interest.”

But she’s working to generate more interest in Fountain’s sinkholes as a tourist attraction.

“If you love the way this place looks and makes you feel, you should care about sinkholes because that’s what makes this landscape and contributes to it,” Sturgis said.

“I think this is the moment we lean in and that we create that strategy because we can talk about this all we want, but to make it happen, that’s where we’re at,” she added.

Source: NBC Choicago