Welcome to Assumption Parish, Louisiana where a massive sinkhole opened up, covering 25 acres of land the video below went viral in 2012; it ate anything it fancied.
When this huge, brand new pond did eventually stop eating things it began belching out oil and gas. Then the sinkhole – now called the Bayou Corne sinkhole – got peckish again and started munching on the surrounding area, growing at an alarming rate.
The sinkhole is thought to have been caused by the collapse of a salt dome cavern – a giant underground mine, run by the Texas Brine Company, which closed years ago.
Louisiana hosts a number of salt domes. Some are as deep as 35,000 feet below the surface and as large as Everest. It seems that the salt mining and an oil-gas storage sheath were in too close proximity. They weren’t illegally close, but, judging by the results, they were too close.
Local communities were evacuated – more than 350 residents in total. It’s such a cool video, though:
That video was filmed when the sinkhole spanned just a few acres. By February 2014, the sinkhole had reached 26 acres and showed no signs of slowing. As it stands, no one knows when residents will be able to return to their homes.
As you can imagine, residents are a little jazzed off that a company has totally destroyed their lives. One resident, called Kenny Simoneaux, asked his grandchildren to lock away his ammunition; he was interviewed in 2013:
“The God of my understanding says, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap,’ I’m so goddamn mad I could kill somebody.'”
Fair enough, mate.
Texas Brine are still working to salvage the mess they caused, but, to be honest, there’s little they can do but look busy. The company have been paying each of the residents $875 per week for the duration of the evacuation (even to those who are staying in their homes in defiance).
(Image above taken from the official Facebook page for the sinkhole).
Another local chap, Mike Schaff, gives us a snapshot of the the general feelings the residents have about Texas Brine’s settlement payments:
“They think we’re just a bunch of ignorant coonasses.”
Some residents have now reached buyout agreements with Texas Brine, others decided to sue. In true American fashion, Texas Brine decided that if legal action was going to happen, they would sue another company – Occidental Petroleum.
Texas Brine blame them for triggering the salt dome collapse when they drilled an oil well in 1986. They’re looking for $100 million in compensation. Good luck with that.
UPDATE AUGUST 2016: the sinkhole stopped growing when it reached 35 acres and 750 feet deep; residents were told they could move back home in June 2016.
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