Draper Aden Assists in Search for Blacksburg Time Capsule

Creating a lasting, positive impact through engineering, surveying, and environmental expertise is at the very core of what we do at Draper Aden Associates. It’s always a fulfilling and enriching feeling to know that our firm and talented team members leave lasting effects in our local communities. This week, we want to highlight a project that perfectly encapsulates that lasting, positive impact: Assisting in the search to find a time capsule buried at the former Blacksburg Middle School in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The Blacksburg Middle School Class of 1976 buried a time capsule on the old middle school grounds in honor of the nation’s bicentennial that year. According to students from the Class of 1976, the time capsule includes items that represented Blacksburg in the 1970s. After reading a captivating article from the Christiansburg News Messenger about the time capsule, Draper Aden wanted to assist in the effort to locate the time capsule. Luckily, we had the people and tools to help!

Ted Dean, PG, Geophysical Services Team Leader; Chris Printz, Senior Project Geologist; and Ethan Truman, Staff Geologist, first surveyed the site and spray painted a 60’ x 60’ grid around the tree where the time capsule was said to be buried. Then, the DAA team used ground penetrating radar and an electromagnetic induction sensor to scan the ground and collect data.

The electromagnetic induction sensor is similar to a metal detector and emits electromagnetic waves down to the soil. It shows reflections off buried objects and tracks movements by GPS. When the sensor moves across a buried object or a place in the ground where soil has been disturbed, then a high sound will come from it.

After a couple hours of scanning the grounds, the team found a promising spot in the ground that may be where the time capsule is buried. The DAA team is currently evaluating all of the data taken from the site and will know within a couple weeks what the scanning equipment recorded and where.

Learn more about the Blacksburg time capsule and Draper Aden’s work in these stories from the Christiansburg News Messenger and WDBJ7. Stay tuned as we learn of more updates soon!