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Second large sinkhole forms at Cape Kiwanda on Oregon coast; visitors urged to use caution, stay back

Second sinkhole Cape Kiwanda 5-9
Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.
Second sinkhole appeared this week not far from first at Cape Kiwanda on Oregon coast
Second sinkhole Cape Kiwanda 5-9-2
Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.
At last report, second sinkhole at Cape Kiwanda was 10 feet across, 30 feet deep

Less than a foot away from one that appeared in January

PACIFIC CITY, Ore. (KTVZ) —  The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is asking visitors to use caution and to stay away from the area where a second sinkhole has formed at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. 

The second sinkhole was discovered Monday about 10 inches away from the first, which appeared in January. The new sinkhole measures about 10 feet across and about 30 feet deep and developed within the safety fence of the first sinkhole in the northwest corner of the lower dune, officials said Tuesday.

Park staff learned about the additional sinkhole late Monday evening when a photo was posted on social media. They expanded the safety fence early Tuesday around both sinkholes to keep park visitors at a safer distance. 

"We ask that visitors respect this barrier and all park safety barriers and that they keep pets on leashes and children away from the edges. We are monitoring the site daily, but it’s a dynamic environment. The soft sandstone cliffs can give way without warning, which is why it’s important to respect safety fences everywhere in the park,” said Park Ranger Supervisor Travis Korbe.

The second sinkhole appeared sometime between 10 a.m., when a park ranger checked on the safety fencing, and 7:30 p.m., when a photo of the second sinkhole was posted on social media. 

OPRD is working with a geologist to help determine the best location for a permanent safety fence to keep visitors away from the sinkholes. The soil appears to be falling into large, unstable voids beneath the cliff, caused by strong ocean waves. The first sinkhole measures about 25 feet across and 15 feet deep.

Cape Kiwanda is a sandstone outcropping, which is naturally much weaker and prone to sudden changes compared with hardier rock like basalt. While any natural area carries risk, enjoying Cape Kiwanda safely requires visitors to pay special attention.

Even though the spot is marked with barriers, the sinkholes could change at any moment, and others could appear. If you see something that concerns you, leave the area and report it to Cape Lookout State Park staff at 503-842-4981. In an emergency, call 911.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department says it is continuing to monitor the situation and will share additional details as they become available. 

Article Topic Follows: Environment

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