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Nova Scotia geologist says Oxford sinkhole is largely unchanged — for now

The Oxford sinkhole on Sept. 20, 2018. Alicia Draus/Global News

As residents of a small Nova Scotia town gathered Thursday for a public information session about what created a large and active sinkhole near a busy Tim Hortons, a geologist suggested the high-tech tools needed to solve the mystery could soon be on their way.

Amy Tizzard, a regional geologist with the provincial Department of Energy and Mines, said the muddy sinkhole remains almost as big as two basketball courts – but it hasn’t grown much in the last week.

READ MORE: Heavy rains cause Oxford sinkhole to grow, new cracks to appear

“I wouldn’t say that it’s done, though,” she said in an interview from Oxford, N.S., a town of 1,000 roughly 30 minutes from the New Brunswick border.

“It’s still an unpredictable situation … (But) it’s still eroding along its margins, only on the centimetre scale.”

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The town recently issued a request for proposals to get the gear they need to look beneath the surface of the surrounding area – and the deadline for contractors was Wednesday.

“We want to find out the extent of the underground cavern responsible for this … sinkhole,” Tizzard said, suggesting there may be other sinkholes nearby that haven’t broken through the surface.

A geophysical survey is needed, using ground-penetrating radar and other tools, she said.

The ground beneath the Oxford area is known to contain gypsum and salt deposits, minerals that dissolve when infiltrated by water.

WATCH: Officials worry about effect of heavy rains on Oxford sinkhole

Click to play video: 'Officials worry about effect of heavy rains on Oxford sinkhole' Officials worry about effect of heavy rains on Oxford sinkhole
Officials worry about effect of heavy rains on Oxford sinkhole – Sep 11, 2018

First reported in July as a hole the size of a dinner plate, the sinkhole has since swallowed trees, picnic tables and part of a parking lot near the Oxford and Area Lions Club.

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The spectacle has been drawing curious onlookers to the small town, and has even caused minor car accidents.

Residents were to gather at a local theatre for an information session led by community liaison geologist Garth Demont. He was expected to offer details about sinkhole geology and gypsum deformation.

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