Louisiana Sinkhole In Bayou Corne: What Caused The Massive Disaster? [VIDEO]

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 8, 2013 6:30 PM EDT

Louisiana sinkhole
A Louisiana sinkhole near Baton Rouge has caused the evacuation of hundreds, and the threat may be growing. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

A Louisiana sinkhole discovered last August is causing anguish in Bayou Corne, an area 45 miles south of Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana sinkhole started wreaking havoc on the community after a salt dome -- a naturally-occurring underground salt deposit -- collapsed. The Texas Brine Co., the operator of the dome, had been drilling around the dome in order to extract brine, which is used for refining oil. When Texas Brine mined the salt dome too close to the edge of the dome, say officials, the side wall collapsed.

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The collapse is what caused the Louisiana sinkhole, which led to natural gas coming to the surface and mucking up the surrounding swampland. The sinkhole has grown to the size of eight acres, and 350 residents were advised told to evacuate their homes; they have still not returned.

"This place is no longer fit for human habitation, and will forever be," said one evacuee community meeting in December.

Many residents have chosen to stay, risking the fact that the Louisiana sinkhole may expand and ruin infrastructure and homes, or even the highway, Louisiana 70. They also risk natural gas coming to the surface, possibly causing explosions. Officials say that gas has been detected under at least four homes, but in low levels.

"We just feel that this place is not ever going to be what it once was," said one resident from the area of the Louisiana sinkhole, who has since relocated. "It was just a beautiful, pristine place on the bayou. And now that's gone, and we just don't feel safe about what's underneath us."

Texas Brine Co. has offered buyouts to those affected by the Louisiana sinkhole, and a spokesman said that 44 of 92 buyout offers have been accepted.

In May, a federal court approved a class action lawsuit against Texas Brine Co.

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