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Scientists stymied in Mt. Baldy investigation

Environmental ProtetiAgency agents came Mr. Baldy IndianDunes National Lakeshore last year look for possible reasons thpart dune collapsed trapping an

Environmental Protetion Agency agents came to Mr. Baldy on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore last year to look for possible reasons that part of the dune collapsed, trapping an 11-year-old boy. | Post-Tribune File Photo

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Updated: April 5, 2014 6:18AM



MICHIGAN CITY — Officials from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are no closer to finding out why a hole developed on Mount Baldy in July, swallowing a 6-year-old boy from Illinois.

A recent briefing with the National Park Service’s Geological Resources Division in Fort Collins, Colo., on the results of tests done by the Environmental Protection Agency on the dune in August yielded no clues, Bruce Rowe, the park’s public information officer, said Monday.

“There is really no more information that the geologists at our Geological Resources Division could glean from the EPA ground-sensing report,” Rowe said. “The next steps are more scientific tests of the dune, including taking core samples and bringing in even more sensitive ground-sensing equipment.”

Rowe does not yet know the timetable for the additional testing, and Mount Baldy remains closed while the investigation continues.

An initial review of the EPA’s report showed 66 anomalies beneath Mount Baldy, which could possibly be rocks, holes or fence posts. At least six of the anomalies are metal, though researchers don’t know what the rest of them are.

The EPA conducted an assortment of tests, including ground-penetrating radar, on the 126-foot dune in August. Park staff reviewed the report on the tests in January before passing it on to geological resources for further review.

In the days following the July 12 incident in which Nathan Woessner, of Sterling, Ill., was buried in 11 feet of sand for more than 3½ hours, another, seemingly similar hole was found on Mount Baldy. Woessner was rescued and has since recovered.

There had been some speculation that a buried tree may have shifted, creating the hole into which Nathan fell. Scientists have said photos of Mount Baldy from 1935 show trees in the spot where Nathan was found.



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