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Seattle's tunnel dig at grinding halt: Mysterious object cannot be penetrated

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A mysterious object buried beneath the earth in Seattle has captured the nation’s attention today. Workmen using the biggest tunnel boring machine on the planet found that this object stopped the machine in its tracks. No one knows what the buried object is buried beneath the city, but it brought plenty of intrigue with it, according to the New York Times on Dec. 19.

Bertha is the name of the machine that is being used to dig a tunnel near the seacoast. The machine consists of the newest technology and it takes 20 men to operate Bertha. This big Bertha usually tunnels through just about anything, but this mysterious object has given Bertha a run for her money.

The area where Bertha hit this unknown object is in the shallowest area of the dig, it is only about 45 feet under the ground. Because this ground was all mucky wetland at one time and filled in for building in the 1800s, many believe there is a piece of old Seattle history in Bertha’s way.

Because Berth is as “blind as a bat,” with no windows or cameras at the head of the drill, there is no way to get to the head of the cigar-shaped boring machine to see what is causing the obstruction. Workman believe they found a way to take a look at the object with a series of bore holes that were dug to push water out as Bertha goes into the ground.

To do this the workman will be subjected to the same type of atmospheric pressures that deep-sea divers experience. This means they can stay down there for short periods of time and need time in a decompression chamber when coming back above ground.

While work is continuing at the ends of the tunnel, the boring of the hole by Bertha could be at a halt for weeks. If the object cannot be broken up below the ground, then an excavation from above ground will need to happen.

Some folks around town think the object is an old train car and others think it is something much more intriguing than an old discarded rail car, what that might be no one has ventured a guess. This mystery will go on for at least a few more days until the workman can get down there and say for sure what is holding up big Bertha!



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