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Assumption Parish Slurry Area Growing As Officials Look for a Cause
In Bayou Corne, the Earth continues to tremble and bubble underfoot, and a giant area of land that appears to have been swallowed whole is only getting bigger. But the cause of this slurriness remains unknown.
Since it's discovery on August 3, a giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish has grown in size, depth, and likelihood of danger. Measurements taken on August 6th reported sinkhole to be approximately 381 feets deep and 372 feet in diameter. At the time, only diesel and oil were at the surface. Today the sinkhole is about 476 feet wide and over 400 feet deep - and with slough-ins happening frequently, the size will increase with each coming day.
The sinkhole is not only growing, but it's showing signs of gaseous leaks as well. In the area, there are multiple cases of bubbling - suggesting that gases are seeping up through nearby water. The gases that are currently bubbling up are diffused and therefore nontoxic. But officials are unsure whether or not it will remain as such. It's been over a month since local residents evactuated the area and it doesn't appear they'll be able to go back home anytime son.
Investigators are starting to think that an abandoned brine cavern nearby might be part of the cause. Texas Brine LLC, the corporation responsible for creating the cavern, is currently drilling into the ground in order to establish seismic monitors as well as gain further information on the natural gas that lies above the ground water aquifer and the salt dome cap.
A salt dome is basically an extremely large deposit of salt that is underneath the ground water. Texas Brine LLC formerly operated a brine well, drilling deep into the salt dome and extracting the salt solution known as brine. The cavern has been abandoned for some time now and the corporation has been digging an investigatory well for over 30 days that will enter the cavern this week. Louisiana Commissioner of Conservation James Welsh issued the order to dig the well on August 9th as part of a formal Declaration of Emergency.
Welsh and his office are striving quickly and efficiently detect potential public hazards. Along with the investigatory well, he has brought in various contracters to ensure public safety including Walker-Hill Environmental who will be drilling an observational water well.
About a week ago, Texas Brine LLC drilled a shallow well for seismic monitors due to increased seismic activity caused by the sinkhole. They drilled 465 feet deep and found natural gas deposits at about 120 feet and again at 420 feet. Also many officials are starting to worry because of the nearby Crosstex cavern that contains nearly one million barrels of liquid butane. If the natural gas or butane begin to seep out of the sinkhole, there could be serious consequences inolving toxicity and/or fires. NoDef will continue to monitor the progress of the well, and the growth of this slurry mess.
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