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Sinkhole Code 3 Alert: Quaking, Burping Continuing, Workers Evacuated

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Seismic activity shown Wedensday afternoon in the University of Memphis chart of LA14 HHZ YC in Bayou Corne, LA. (Image credit: University of Memphis, Center for Earthquake and Research Information)

 

The world’s historic petrochemical sinkhole that has been eating part of south Louisiana for over a year is showing signs Wednesday afternoon of intensified quakes and is continuing to burp, according to officials who have issued a Code 3 Alert and pulled workers out of the area.

‘Burp Occurred and Is Continuing’

“There has been another burp that occurred and is continuing on the sinkhole,” officials said. “All operations have been pulled from inside of the sinkhole until activity calms down.”

This event comes only two days after the last slough in during which 25 trees and an area approximately 25′ by 50′ were swallowed.

Bayou Corne, Louisiana sinkhole area swallowing trees and land on Aug. 18,  2013. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

 

Officials said Wednesday afternoon that the monitoring/alert status has been heightened to Code 3 Alert.

They provided the following explanation of the codes, according to definitions, indicating that earthquakes have intensified at the monster hole.

Code Levels are 1-3, with Code 1 being the lowest level of alert.

Code 1: Minimal to no seismic activity around/below sinkhole; 10 or fewer of the sharp seismic signals associated with rock movement, called mini-earthquakes (MEQs) or the longer signals associated with gas or liquid movement, called Very Long Periods (VLPs) within 24-hour period; allows work on sinkhole and inside berm area to continue.

Code 2: Restricts work directly on the sinkhole, indicates some increased seismic activity around/below sinkhole but not at a level that indicates imminent threat of sloughing or movement below sinkhole (10 to 50 MEQs or VLPs in 24 hours). 

Code 3: Restricts all work inside the containment berm, indicates seismic activity has elevated to a point similar to what has been seen in past monitoring prior to a sloughing on the shore or movement beneath sinkhole (More than 50 MEQs or VLPs in 24 hours).

Unstoppable Petrochemical Monster 

Since its discovery on August 3, 2012, the monster sinkhole in Assumption Parish communities has grown in size, depth, and likelihood of danger.

When first reported, it was 400 feet in diamter.

Over the past year, it has grown to consume over 25 acres, increasingly threatening to join two Bayous, Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne.

Also over the past year, the monster has been continually threatening to explode those communities due to the hydrocarbons it spews each time it “burps.”

Methane is seeping under houses. Hydrocarbons are in the local aquifier.

Measurements taken on August 6th this year reported the sinkhole to be approximately 381 feet deep and 372 feet in diameter. 

An established pattern over the past year has been that seismic activity brings a sinkhole “burp,” after which the monster hole swallows more of the parish swampland, and grows accordingly.

The hole is shaped like an upside-down witch’s hat, or a vortex, similar to the one that consumed another salt dome area some fifty miles away at Lake Peigneur in what has been one of Louisiana’s greatest disasters.

With the chemical brew swirling inside the ‘Bayou Corne’ sinkhole, each recorded event such as today’s raises the question, “Is this the big one?” 



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    Total 3 comments
    • Deborah Dupre

      This is one of the first times, if not the first time that this monster keeps on burping, not a good sign.

    • paul brown

      For those living in states cursed with fossil fuel “resources” (the resource curse that plagues many US states and countries around the world), the petrochemical sinkhole is just another example of the horrific consequences of Big Energy’s greed. Big Energy (and other extractive industries) promises great benefits for locals that are greatly exaggerated, corrupts local officials, spreads the lie that the local economy depends on their industry, and causes disasters whose effects are felt far beyond the local community. Global warming caused by burning carbon (including so-called renewable fuels) is a case in point.
      People in fossil fuel extracting and processing (and now pipeline and rail transport) areas suffer while the corporate fat cats prosper. We can only fight these monsters by (1) electing officials who will tighten regulations until the corporations are strangled, encourage an influx of green alternatives such as solar, geothermal and wind energy, and (2) taking direct action against the monsters. Please help fight the governments that are owned by the corporations, help the victims, and help the activists who speak truth to power and risk their freedom and their lives to save us.

    • Anonymouse

      Yeah, I think it is a sign of one of the big ones. History will show this. Right now it is in the “burp” phase. I can hardly wait till it “farts”.

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