Ground-penetrating radar looks for clues under Oxford, N.S., sinkhole
Published Tuesday, October 2, 2018 8:27PM EDT
Officials in Oxford, N.S., have been given their first look under a sinkhole thanks to ground-penetrating radar, in the hopes that the technology will give them clues to its cause.
The town of about 1,000 people has been patiently waiting for more information ever since the sinkhole grew from size of a dinner plate in July to nearly 40 metres in August, swallowing trees and threatening a Lion’s Club.
The radar machine works by sending a pulse of energy into the ground that is echoed back to its sensors if the pulse encounters something underground.
“When it reflects, the software takes over and interprets that into an image which comes onto the screen and you see it as you go,” underground radar specialist Philip Jennex told CTV Atlantic.
“You're looking for features. You're looking for things that are out of norm for this kind of place,” he added.
Jennex said that the tests have not yet been interpreted, but he has already noticed something “interesting.”
“That area back there is less saturated with salt than this area over here,” he said, standing on one side of the sinkhole. “Why so much salt out here versus none back there?”
Rachel Jones, chief administrative officer for the town of Oxford said it’s been “kind of exciting” to start seeing exactly what’s underneath her feet.
"It's more than what we've been able to do up to now,” she said.
New cracks discovered
Meanwhile, some fresh cracks in the pavement were discovered near the sinkhole.
“They're about four meters back from the edge,” said Amy Tizzard, a geologist with the province.
“It's a reminder that the site continues to develop,” she added.
Local councillors plan to analyze the data and meet with provincial officials before deciding what to do next.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker