The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 12, 2014

Sinkhole swallows displayed Corvettes

(Continued)

Dettman estimated it could take weeks to months to repair the damage. The cost could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of any structural damage, he said.

Lancaster said information was still being gathered about what exactly happened, but it appeared to be the first problem of its kind at the property.

Bowling Green sits in the midst of the state's largest karst region — the Western Pennyroyal area, where many of Kentucky's longest and deepest caves run underground. A karst display distinctive surface features, including sinkholes.

Sinkholes are common in the area but usually don't occur inside buildings, Dettman said.

"It was unique for a lot of reasons," he said. "One, it's full of Corvettes, and two that it was inside a structure."

Geologists were still trying to determine what caused the sinkhole to open up.

Some of the foundation beneath the dome's main tower had been undermined, Dettman said, but "the primary foundation system around the perimeter of the structure hasn't been undermined."

Strode said at least two of the Corvettes could be "recovered and saved," but museum officials were still trying to determine the extent of the damage. He didn't know how soon the cars could be retrieved.

"We've overcome adversity before and will certainly overcome this," Strode said.

The museum is set to host the 2014 Corvette Caravan in late summer, a celebration marking the museum's 20th anniversary.

"We're hoping to be in full business and going full guns at that time," Strode said.

Museum officials expect car clubs from all 50 states and Canada to converge on Bowling Green for the celebration.

Bowling Green, Ky., is also the lone place where General Motors builds the iconic Corvette.

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