This Is So Weird

Mount Baldy is the largest "living" dune at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, at about 125 feet tall. It has, for decades, been a major attraction of the national park, but, in recent years, it's started moving inland at an increased pace and has developed inexplicable holes.

image of a hole in a large sand dune
Officials at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore announced Thursday that scientists still do not know what caused holes to appear in Mount Baldy last summer, and the popular attraction will remain closed for further study.

Nathan Woessner, 6, of Sterling, Ill., was swallowed up by a hole on July 12, 2013, and rescued by firefighters.

Two additional holes have appeared since last July, park officials said on Thursday.

Ground penetrating radar studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency have identified a large number of anomalies below the dune's surface, but scientists from the National Park Service, Indiana University and the Indiana Geological Survey still do not know how these holes were formed.

...The two additional holes and a number of depressions have been found since July. Officials said report that the holes are short-lived, remaining open for less than 24 hours before collapsing and filling in naturally with surrounding sand.

Officials at the National Lakeshore on Thursday announced more testing will be conducting this summer, which will include mapping of openings and depressions, and studies that will allow scientists to develop a better understanding of the overall internal architecture of the dune.
What's causing the holes?!

There is a theory that it's a lack of sufficient dune grass and erosion caused by people who veer off the designated path, but I'm guessing that's not the whole story. I'm eager, and a little fearful, to see what they find.

Not that I think it's, you know, a dune monster or something. I rather suspect it's something altogether more mundane and more terrifying, like an unexpected effect of climate change.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus