The research project SIMULTAN applies an advanced combination of geophysical, geodetic, and modelling techniques to gain a better understanding of the evolution and characteristics of sinkholes. Sinkholes are inherently related to surface deformation and, thus, of increasing societal relevance, especially in dense populated urban areas. One work package of SIMULTAN investigates an integrated approach to monitor sinkhole-related mass translations and surface deformations induced by salt dissolution. Datasets from identical and adjacent points are used for a consistent combination of geodetic and geophysical techniques. Monitoring networks are established in Hamburg and Bad Frankenhausen (Thuringia). Levelling surveys indicate subsidence rates of about 4–5 mm per year in the main subsidence areas of Bad Frankenhausen with a local maximum of 10 mm per year around the leaning church tower.
Here, the concept of combining geodetic and gravimetric techniques to monitor and characterise geological processes on and below the Earth's surface is exemplary discussed for the focus area Bad Frankenhausen. For the different methods (levelling, GNSS, relative/absolute gravimetry) stable network results at identical points are obtained by the first campaigns, i.e., the results are generally in agreement.