This update is the 11th article in this Opednews series about the Bayou Corne sinkhole.
In Spring of 2012, Louisiana's Corne and Grand Bayou residents
noticed strange bubbling in the bayou for many weeks, and they reported
smelling burnt diesel fuel and sulfur. Then suddenly a sinkhole the
size of three football fields appeared on Aug. 3, swallowing scores of
100-foot tall cypress trees. The sinkhole resulted from the failure of
Texas Brine Company's abandoned underground brine cavern. The Department
Resources issued a Declaration of Emergency on Aug. 6, and 150 families
For maps, diagrams and additional information, please see the ten previous articles in this series, listed at the end of this article.
NAPOLEONVILLE, LA: On March 26, 2013, the relentlessly treacherous Louisiana sinkhole swallowed 25 more trees.
First discovered on August 3, 2012, the sinkhole has continued to cave in since then, demolishing many acres of swampland.
Yesterday, the Assumption Parish Police Jury announced, "The Office of Conservation, in consultation with Assumption Parish Incident Command, is advising the public that a slough-in occurred last night along the southeastern side of the sinkhole -- approximately 25 trees fell into the sinkhole along the southeastern side and a new crack, running parallel to the sinkhole edge, was observed on the Oxy 3 well pad access ramp to the sinkhole. Experts with Conservation and CB&I believe the slough-in event is linked to the period of elevated subsurface fluid and gas movement detected late last week in the area around the sinkhole and Oxy 3, as has been observed in previous similar events."
On March 19, Louisiana Governor Jindal made his first visit to the Bayou Corne community since the crisis began in August, 2012.
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Nine days before yesterday's cave-in, on Sunday, March 17, a large "burp" event was recorded at the sinkhole. (A "burp" is typically characterized by hydrocarbon and debris on the surface.)
The red line in the photo above depicts the area of the swampland that caved in at that time. Photos of the March 26 cave-in are not yet available. (Please note: the red line in the original photo has been enhanced for better visibility at the size of the photo shown here.)
The Assumption Parish Police Jury noted that it was "related to the recent period of elevated deep seismic activity around the failed Oxy 3 cavern and the sinkhole. As has happened in past events, such as the period of elevated seismic activity that preceded the Jan. 19 "burp" event, the recent period of elevated activity was observed for several days prior to a sinkhole event. Though the deep subsurface activity appears to have calmed significantly, Conservation's contracted experts continue to note shallower seismic activity likely related to slumping of the sinkhole sides and water movement in the sinkhole and immediately below it."
The photos above show the sinkhole's growth during seven months, from August 21, 2012, through March 21, 2013.
At a public briefing on Jan. 30, 2013, a representative from Texas Brine noted that the size of the sinkhole was about 8.6 acres, noting, "when i include the areas of subsidence around the sinkhole, it is between 15 and 16 acres."
The two cave-ins in March have expanded the size of the sinkhole, but the exact size is not yet available.
Previous articles in this series:
10. Over 90 "Micro" Earthquakes Overnight at the Bayou Corne Sinkhole (MAR. 13, 2013) click here
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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)