Monday, August 7, 2017

Earth Swallowing Houses, Trees in Virginia Town, 1910

Eastern Carolina News, Kenansville, N.C., August 17, 1910

Fear in Staunton…Earth Swallows Houses and Trees in Virginia Town…Geologist Goes to the Scene…Limestone Foundation Gradually Giving Away and Rivers Under Town…People Moving

Staunton, Va., Special—A two-story house and a large tree have been swallowed up into the earth, many other residences are sinking and have been abandoned by their occupants, and public buildings are endangered as the result of the boring of an 800-foot well in the public square here.

Wide cracks in the earth are spreading, threatening the post office and public school building. The walls of the school house already are cracked. Residents are much alarmed and heroic efforts are being made to prevent further caving of the earth.

Washington, Special—In response to an appeal to the geological survey from Staunton, Va., F.B. Van Hors, assistant chief geologist, has gone in to investigate the cave-ins, which have caused heavy property damage in the Virginia town. The theory held by the government geologist is that the trouble was caused by water percolating through the limestone, which underlies the entire sections, and thus has weakened the foundations of buildings and caused them to give way. Mr. Van Horn is familiar with the geological structure of that portion of Virginia and from press reports he judges that dissolving limestone is responsible for the trouble.

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