Tough Road Ahead for National Corvette Museum
It’s the kind of thing you’d expect out of an end-of-the-world movie, not real life. This February, a hole about the size of a tennis court opened up in the earth and eight new Chevrolet Corvettes fell into it. It happened at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Repair of the massive hole will begin in November. It’s expected to take nine months and 3.2 million dollars to repair. In fact, the costs were so great, and the sinkhole was attracting so many tourists that Chevrolet considered keeping the hole as is. Three of the eight damaged Corvettes will be restored, and the rest will remain in the museum in their damaged state. After all, it’s a museum, and you can understand why they’d want something to remember the disaster by.
The geology of the region is quite odd, and this isn’t the area’s first subterranean discovery. Kentucky sits on a large belt of limestone, a kind of rock that’s easily eroded by water and silt. For this reason, there’s more caves in Kentucky, Tennessee, and northern Alabama than in any other place in the world. After removing the rubble from the mysterious sinkhole, and lifting eight rare Corvettes from its depths, they found several large boulders. The spaces between the boulders apparently created a pocket of air surrounded by soil. When the boulders shifted, hundreds of tons of soil rushed out from underneath the museum and filled the hole.
The museum definitely has its hands full. They’ll have to fill the hole with 4000 tons of stone, install support beams and trusses, rebuild the museum’s entrances, and make other infrastructure improvements to ensure another eight Corvettes don’t disappear. It’s also a public safety concern. Every now and then, an unlucky soul will get sucked into a sinkhole. It’s happened more in the limestone belt and in Appalachia than anywhere else in the nation.
To keep fans of the museum in on the action, the museum is installing webcams so the devoted can watch the rebuilding live on the web. The museum curator says that if you want to come and see the sinkhole, November 9th 2015 is the last day to do it. After that, the museum will be closed until July of next year.
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