Seismic activity reported at giant Louisiana sinkhole

Aerial image August 3, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
Aerial image August 3, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
Aerial image August 3, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
Aerial image August 3, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)

BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) - Authorities are investigating what is causing the seismic activity reported Wednesday at the giant Louisiana Sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

According to the Assumption Parish Police Jury blog, seismic monitoring detected elevated fluid and gas movement in the sinkhole Tuesday and Wednesday, and an isolated seismic event that was "comparatively stronger" to most resent signals happened Wednesday mid-afternoon.

Work within the containment berms and directly on the sinkhole continues to be suspended as a precaution while new safety protocols are finalized. Work has been suspended since the giant sinkhole swallowed a large area of trees on August 21 and 22, 2013. The Assumption Parish Police Jury released video of two slough-ins on August 21 and August 22. The entire event was caught on camera. (See video in player above or click here


Bayou Corne Police Jury President Marty Triche and Parish Jurors are hosting a gathering of public officials on Thursday, September 12, 2013. The public is invited to attend. This is an opportunity to visit with representatives from all levels of government and to give a testimony to how residents have been affected by the sinkhole.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Assumption Parish Community Center which is located at 4910 Highway 308 in Napoleonville, La.

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 been 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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