Second crack develops in berm at Bayou Corne sinkhole

Source: Assumption Parish OEP
Source: Assumption Parish OEP

BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - A second crack has been discovered in a berm at the site of the Bayou Corne sinkhole.

The new crack doesn't go all the way across the berm.

The Assumption Police Jury reported the crack Wednesday afternoon.

All activity has been stopped after monitoring of the site indicated elevated micro-earthquake activity in the area.

Texas Brine released the following statement:

There has been a recent increase in seismic activity detected on the Texas Brine seismic instrumentation over the last ten days. These occurrences consist primarily of minor tremors or "micro-earthquakes" (MEQ's) and not extended events or very long period (VLP) tremors. Additional monitoring and interpretation of the data from the newly installed borehole seismic array is being performed in order to better understand the location and magnitude of the seismic activity. This monitoring and analyses is performed by industry specialists, along with government and university experts, which has been the case from the very beginning of the response.

Texas Brine, in coordination with DNR and APOEP, recently relocated sensors and added additional resources to the passive seismic monitoring system already in place. This is all part of a coordinated effort to better monitor for tremors and pinpoint tremor locations with greater accuracy. Response personnel are closely watching this situation and if additional information becomes available about the source and location of the activity, the community will be updated.

Officials are continuing to monitor the area.

At last check, the sinkhole was 26 acres in size. The president of United Brine, a subsidiary of Texas Brine, has stated the surface could get to 50 acres but the good news is it is moving in a southwest pattern, which is away from homes and the community.

History of the sinkhole

The sinkhole opened up in August 2012 and was roughly 1/24 of the size it is now. The sinkhole formed when an underground salt cavern collapsed.

In the past, seismic activity is reported, then the sinkhole burps up debris and then a slough-in happens. Burps occur when air and gas from deep in the sinkhole bubbles up. It can cause debris and an oily substance to float to the top. A slough-in is when the sinkhole swallows trees and land that is on the edge of the sinkhole.

Berms were placed around the sinkhole shortly after it opened up to keep the oily, debris filled water contained to the sinkhole area so it would not contaminate the area bayous.

It has more than a year since hundreds living near the giant sinkhole were forced from their homes.

Bubbles were spotted in Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou in June 2012. Two months later, the ground opened up and left what is now a 24-acre sinkhole. Residents were evacuated and the most affected residents began receiving weekly checks from Texas-Brine in the amount of $875 per week. Texas Brine owns the salt cavern that collapsed, causing the sinkhole.

On August 2, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced the state will be suing Texas Brine for environmental damages caused by the failed Texas Brine cavern.

Parish and Texas Brine officials agree the situation is far from over. 3D seismic surveys show the sinkhole itself it beginning to slow and stabilize, but the recovery is focused on another danger; natural gas gathering underneath a nearby aquifer.

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