Around thirteen months ago, a six-year-old boy was mysteriously engulfed by a sand dune called Mount Baldy in Indiana. After around 3 hours of being buried under 11 feet of sand, the boy was rescued and lived to tell his terrifying tale.
Now, over a year later, scientists have found another hole in the same sand dunes, one that could potentially engulf a person unlucky enough to step into it. According to researchers, this is the sixth hole that they have found in six weeks, justifying the dune’s indefinite closure to the public.
The scientists want to study the sand dune in an effort to better understand why the boy was sucked in the ground last year, as well as why the holes are forming. They are also looking to see if anything else, such as houses or trees, have ever been engulfed by the sand.
“There may be houses underneath where we’re standing,” said G. William Monaghan, senior research scientist at Indiana Geological Survey at Indiana University Bloomington, as he stood on top of Mount Baldy.
To study Mount Baldy, scientists are using a ground-penetrating radar that is able to make a 3D map of what lies under the sand. They are also looking through old documents and pictures of the dune to see what might be hidden down there.
So far, the team of three scientists have already found a house that was buried up by the dune sometime in the 1970’s. They suspect that more buildings, including barns or sheds, will also be discovered underground.
Although they are not entirely sure, the researchers believe that the old houses and trees buried in the sand dune are actually the cause of the holes. They think that the debris was covered up by the sand, making the sand above the debris soft and able to open up.
To confirm this, more researcher will have to be done, the three scientists noted. A final $90,000 study, paid for by the National Park Service, is expected to occur next summer.