Geopic of the week: Disappearing stream, Izard County, Arkansas

Disappearling stream

The above picture shows what can happen when a sinkhole forms in the channel of a creek.  This photo is taken facing in what use to be the upstream direction.  If you look carefully, you can tell that the water is actually flowing into the fracture; the sinkhole has captured the flow of the creek and caused a strech of it to flow backwards. 

Sinkholes form in a variety of ways, but this one evidently was the result of sudden collapse of bedrock into a subterranean cave that was forming below the land surface.  You can’t see the sinkhole itself because it’s just inside of the dark opening in the rock.

If the photographer were to turn around and snap a picture in the downstream direction, you would see that the stream bed is dry just downstream.  In geologic terms this is called a disappearing stream.

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