Is This Really a Tourist Attraction? This Minnesota City Hopes So
Sometimes you've got to make lemonade out of lemons. I think this city took that saying to heart. If you've got something that seems like a negative at first, why not turn it into a positive? That's what this town has done and it just may be working.
The town of Fountain, MN has more sinkholes than people. A lot more. There are 400 people in Fountain and 10,000 sinkholes! The sinkholes are caused by what's called a Karst effect. The National Parks Service describes it:
Karst is a type of landscape where the dissolving of the bedrock has created sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, springs, and other characteristic features. Karst is associated with soluble rock types such as limestone, marble, and gypsum. In general, a typical karst landscape forms 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. After traveling underground, sometimes for long distances, this water is then discharged from springs, many of which are cave entrances.
The town of Fountain is embracing this natural phenomenon and using it to attract tourists. They say they are seeing about 8,000 visitors each summer that are asking how to see the sinkholes.
The good news about the sinkholes in Fountain is that it takes them eons to develop, this is not something that happens overnight. So there seems to be no great danger associated with their sinkholes.
The town itself is getting on board these days as well. The Brewery in town is named the Karst Brewery, fully embracing the landscape of the town.
A quick google search shows the positive side of the Karst effect:
Many karst features like cave entrance and springs have always served as natural focal points for human activities by providing two of life's most necessities – shelter and water. Karst caves have been used as shelters by humans on every continent throughout human history.
The National Parks Service says a quarter of the worlds population depends on water supplied from karst areas.
So now you've got your next road trip! Head to Fountain and check out the natural phenomenon that presents itself as a sinkhole. Well, a LOT of sinkholes. The good news is that if you go, you shouldn't have to look far since they're everywhere.
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Gallery Credit: Stacker