Seismic Activity Rose, Then Dropped After Louisiana Sinkhole ‘Burp’

January 23, 2013

Scientists have noticed a recent increase in seismic activity near the 8.5-acre sinkhole at Bayou Corne, and worry that it might grow again, Assumption Parish officials say.

The increase was first noticed about two weeks ago, John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, told The Advocate.

Scientists noticed more than 80 such events on Jan. 18, but activity dropped after the sinkhole “burped” crude oil, debris and hydrocarbon to the surface the next morning, he said.

Boudreaux says officials worry that something may be shifting in salt deposits just east of the failed Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern that scientists believe caused the sinkhole.

Company officials don’t know of any seismic activity since Jan. 19, spokesman Sonny Cranch told the Associated Press.

The movement appears to have cracked a concrete drilling well pad directly above the failed cavern and on the eastern side of the sinkhole. Cracks 1 inch wide and 14 inches deep stretch from the pad’s north side to the southwest side, he said.

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources scientists have said they believe that when the Texas Brine cavern failed, the brine it held gushed out, opening the sinkhole sometime between the night of Aug. 2 and the morning of Aug. 3.

Residents of 150 homes in the two communities were ordered on Aug. 3 to evacuate their homes and camps. The order remains in place.

Topics Louisiana

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