Exeter’s Latest Land Collapse Not a Sinkhole

Work continues to stabilize the sinkhole that damaged a parking lot in Leesburg’s Exeter neighborhood Tuesday, but contractors have determined it’s not really a sinkhole.

The geologist hired by the town to evaluate the presumed sinkhole on Jared Square found there was no karst geology under the sinking asphalt.

“Based on the drilling test results completed yesterday, we began full excavation of the sinkhole this morning,” Renée LaFollette, Leesburg’s Director of Public Works and Capital Projects, stated. “Bob Denton, the geologist with GeoConcepts Engineering, has been on site during the excavation and agrees there is no evidence of karst-related formations that are indicative of sinkholes.”

According to LaFollette, the pavement collapse was cause by soil settlement over time and was precipitated by last weekend’s heavy rain following a long dry spell. By contrast, a sinkhole forms when underground water dissolves and carries away subterranean rock, such as limestone, leaving underground spaces or caverns.

The town plans to fill the excavated area with structural rock overlaid with geotextile fabric before reinstalling the utility lines and backfilling with soil.

LaFollette expects to have the work completed by the end of next week.

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