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Watch This: Sinkhole Swallows A Stand Of Trees In Louisiana
August 22, 2013
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Bayou Corne, Louisiana has a serious sinkhole problem.

In this clip, shot yesterday by members of the local Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness (Bayou Corne is located in Assumption Parish), a stand of trees disappears in moments into an underwater sinkhole.

John Boudreaux, the director of emergency preparedness, was checking the site in the video with a colleague when he noticed movement.

"I was just standing there and I pointed out, 'Hey it looks like they're moving. It looks like they're moving,'" he told The Advocate. That's when he turned on his camera.

The sinkhole, which is now estimated to be roughly one square kilometre in size, has been growing in Bayou Corne since this time last year.

Scientists have said the hole's growth is expected, as it seeks a final shape and size, a process that could take years.

In August 2012, after months of seismic activity and strange bubbling on the bayou, the hole first opened up on land owned by a petrochemical company called Texas Brine.

According to two lawsuits filed by local residents against the mining company, the initial hole was 122 metres deep and 83 metres wide, and it appeared on August 3, 2012, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Residents also claim in the suits that the sinkhole brought with it "a foul diesel odor, collapsing trees," and "salt-water slurry, which contained diesel fuel."

sinkhole-swallows-trees-louisiana-side.jpgThat incident led to the immediate evacuation of all 350 residents of Bayou Corne in August 2012, the Examiner reports. People haven't been allowed back into their homes since.

Some of the abandoned homes are shown in the AP photo to the right, taken in July 2013.

Texas Brine's mining operation works above a five-kilometre wide, nearly two-kilometre deep salt deposit called the Napoleonville Dome, which has a layer of natural gas and oil around it.

The company specializes in injection mining, in which wells are dug into the salt dome and then filled with high-pressure streams of freshwater.

Once the water is forced to the surface, it is piped and trucked to refineries, where the company breaks it down into sodium hydroxide and chlorine for use in manufacturing.

The company has been monitoring the situation since last year, and posting updates on the Texas Brine website.

In response to one of the suits filed against it, Texas Brine denied nearly all of the allegations and named two other companies as defendants, claiming that drilling procedures carried out by those companies contributed to the ultimate cause of the sinkhole problem.

On August 2, 2013, Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced the state will be suing Texas Brine for environmental damages.

For a look at what life is like for the residents of Bayou Corne, check out this piece by Mike Ludwig for Truth-Out.org.

Via Colossal


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