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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