12-Acre Sinkhole Plaguing Louisiana

Salt mine collapses, forcing residents to evacuate—7 months ago

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 21, 2013 7:45 AM CDT | Updated Mar 21, 2013 8:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Another sinkhole is plaguing the US, and this one is a monster: A 12-acre sinkhole in Louisiana forced Bayou Corne residents to evacuate seven months ago, with a fading chance they'll ever be able to return, reports Grist. The sinkhole, which originally measured nine acres, was created when a salt mine that Houston-based Texas Brine abandoned in 2010 collapsed, NPR reports. The company may have excavated too close to the surface; now, a former swamp has become a growing sinkhole, and crude oil and natural gas are bubbling up to the surface.

Texas Brine is paying evacuated residents $875 a week for temporary housing, but one resident calls that "hush-hush money" and says he wants answers about his land. Another looming concern: A second salt cavern nearby may be having problems. There are also tremors in the area, and officials are concerned about escaping methane gas that could cause explosions. Some residents have sued Texas Brine, and a rep says the company wants to reach a "resolution"; they're discussing buyout offers for the area's 150 affected homes. Click for another state with some major sinkhole issues.

YouTube screenshot of the Bayou Corne sinkhole.
YouTube screenshot of the Bayou Corne sinkhole.   (YouTube)
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