The Curse of Oak Island team-member Craig Tester revealed on the Season 5 ‘Drilling Down’ special that the team could potentially FREEZE the Money Pit to try and excavate it.
He suggested the idea, which has been mentioned in connection with Oak Island before, when he was asked by host Matty Blake what his next step would be if money was no object.
He said: “I would do the freeze ring around the Money Pit. I think if you go with a different type of method — you’re dealing with water all the time, or cave-ins or whatever you are…you freeze it all, you know it’s exactly where it is right now. So that’s what I would do.”
Marty Lagina said the idea was “technologically feasible”, but added: “Expensive? Oh boy.”
Host Matty Blake joked that he was launching a crowd-funding campaign to get behind the idea. Craig’s mention of the freeze ring came after Matty also asked Marty and brother Rick what they would do next if money were not a concern.
Marty said: “Dig up the whole island and move it somewhere else and sift it with a strainer!” Rick added: “Doing much more work with a bladder system. Smith’s Cove…maybe a bladder system in the swamp.”
What is a “freeze ring”?
A “freeze ring” would see a string of pipes inserted into the ground around the Money Pit, which would then have a cooling agent added which would freeze the surrounding soil and everything else under ground — including hopefully the water that has repeatedly flooded shafts on the island during previous digging operations.
The concept of freezing the ground in mining dates back to as long ago as 1862, and the coolants involved are usually either chilled calcium chloride brine or liquid nitrogen.
Freezing the ground, if successful, would potentially provide a water-tight barrier under ground so that excavation works could take place in stable surroundings.
Could they do it on Season 6?
Due to the processes involved, freeze mining is very expensive — however, as Marty said on the show it is technically feasible.
However, further exploration of the Money Pit in some capacity would certainly be likely, and the team would likely want to change tack in terms of the technological methods they are using if they are to make headway.
They hit several obstacles during their drilling operations in the Money Pit area in Season 5, but a string of interesting finds — from human bones to pearlware pottery, parchment and book binding — have left them convinced that something is down there.
Another major area of interest for Season 6 would likely be Smith’s Cove, where metal-detecting expert Gary Drayton uncovered a medieval lead cross in Season 5.
It’s thought the team could build a cofferdam around the cove to keep the ocean out so that they can carry out excavation work and find out more about the so-called “u-shaped structure” which lies underneath the beach.