Fast-expanding Nova Scotia sinkhole sucks up trees

Scientists and officials aren’t sure what is causing the sinkhole to grow or how fast it might expand

A small Nova Scotia town is urging public caution as officials scramble to assess a large, fast-expanding sinkhole that has sucked up trees and picnic tables.

An Oxford, N.S., park has been roped off while geologists and emergency management officials assess the stability of the surrounding area, which includes a community centre, gas station and a Tim Hortons.

“It’s just amazing what Mother Nature can do,” said Linda Cloney, public relations officer for the town.

Town officials say the hole grew considerably overnight.

The sinkhole was measured on Tuesday morning at around 34 by 29 metres — about five metres wider than the previous night’s measurements.

Cloney said stability around the growing sinkhole is one of the biggest safety concerns, as scientists and officials still aren’t sure what is causing the sinkhole to grow or how fast it might expand.

“It really is a day by day, unpredictable event,” said Cloney.

RELATED: B.C. woman who was caught in mudslide now suing for negligence

By Tuesday morning, the edge of the hole had expanded to the pavement of the Lions’ Club parking lot.

Pictures from the scene show 10-metre trees dropping into dark water and immediately disappearing.

Geologists and emergency management officials say they have no idea how deep the hole is.

Last week, a 40-foot spruce tree was sucked into the hole.

Playground equipment at Oxford and Area Lions Parkland was dismantled and moved to storage, as officials were unsure as to whether it would be safe to remove them in the coming days.

Security is on site around the clock to keep people out of the park while assessment work is ongoing.

The town is keeping security measures in place until the geologists’ report on the site can offer a better picture of how stable the surrounding area is.

“We’re letting it do its thing, watching and monitoring, and also learning from this,” said Cloney.

Staff at the nearby gas station and Tim Hortons said they are still open for business, though the massive hole can be seen from the coffee shop’s window.

The growing natural phenomenon has also attracted a growing number of visitors.

RELATED: Crews work to fix sinkhole on Highway 1

Cloney said the sinkhole has become a bit of a tourist attraction as people drive in for a glimpse, resulting in a few minor “fender benders” over the last few days.

“People are stopping in, they’re curious. You hear of sinkholes but this one is rather large,” Cloney said.

The road by the park is usually a busy spot for cars, as people pass through on their way to the nearby Pugwash beaches. The county exhibition is also in town, drawing more visitors than usual.

The uncertainty of the sinkhole’s expansion has also meant a number of disruptions to events at the Lions Club hall.

The Oxford Area Lions Club told The Canadian Press in a Facebook message that closing the hall has meant cancelling a wedding, a family function, and likely Girl Guides meetings in September. Other safety meetings, fundraisers, children’s programming, and flu shots will be up in the air if the hall remains inaccessible.

Cumberland Regional Emergency Management posted a video to Facebook Tuesday, showing a large chunk of earth breaking off and falling into the sinkhole, urging the public to stay away from the park.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Columbia Valley RCMP searching for misisng person

Police ask for help in finding Elizabeth Stewart, who hasn’t contacted family since Jan. 14

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Snow storm hits East Kootenay

Fernie expected to get the most accumulation at roughly 20-25 centimetres by the end of the day

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read