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KARE in the Air: Sinkhole Capital of Minnesota

In the community of Fountain in southeastern Minnesota there are more sinkholes than people, and folks there are hoping they'll become a tourist attraction.

FOUNTAIN, Minn. — Our snowy winter is but a fading memory, Minnesota's landscape is greening up and it's once again time to take in the best our state has to offer from a bird's eye view. 

Yes, KARE in the Air is BACK, and we're kicking things off with the self-proclaimed "Sinkhole Capital of the Country."

We recently flew our trusty drone over Fountain, Minnesota, a community and geographic region about two hours south of the Twin Cities where there are literally more sinkholes than people.

From above sinkholes look a bit like tree groves, and there are an estimated 10,000 of them dotting the landscape across Fillmore County. Some of the easiest ones to see in Fountain are right near the welcome sign when you pull into town, and at the Root River trailhead where there's also a viewing platform. 

We're told sinkholes are a common feature of karst topography, created when water and carbon dioxide mix to form an acid that eats away at the limestone bedrock common in this area. It can also create caves and springs, which are also common throughout Fillmore County.

"Unlike places like Florida or Mexico, where they have a higher water table, the activity is so much more dramatic there," explains Fillmore County Historical Society executive director Sara Sturgis, who hopes the sinkholes will become a tourist attraction. "Here it's not massively active, this stuff is happening over eons."

Oddly, the sinkholes near Fountain look more like tiny woodland groves than dramatic, gaping holes in the earth. Trees ring the diameter of the holes and are held together with a tangle of brush and roots.  

Sturgis tells KARE 11 the history of sinkholes in Fountain is as widespread and varied as their stories — from serving as a dumping ground for appliances to the new one in the center of town that's not far from Karst Brewing, aptly named for the hallmark landscape.  


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