Giant sinkhole appears at Boling Dome
On this day in 1983, a sinkhole approximately 250 feet in diameter and twenty-five feet deep, formed suddenly over the crest of the Boling Dome three miles north of Boling, collapsing the roadway. Boling Dome, an underground rock structure that contains petroleum, sulfur, and salt, is on the western bank of the San Bernard River almost entirely in Wharton County. It is oval in shape and ranges five miles east-west and three miles north-south, encompassing 5,500 acres. Oil production at the site began in 1925 and sulfur wells began producing in 1929. Over 8,000 wells had been drilled to mine the sulfur reserve, and 12,000 more for oil and gas, producing a highly porous zone that affects the integrity of the dome. In addition to the 1983 sinkhole, several others have occurred over the Boling Dome, a condition that is becoming common at other salt dome sites where sulfur and oil are produced.