Work suspension at giant sinkhole continues as a precaution - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Work suspension at giant sinkhole continues as a precaution

Aerial image August 2, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP) Aerial image August 2, 2013 (Source: Assumption Parish OEP)
BAYOU CORNE, LA (WAFB) -

It was announced that work continues to be suspended within the berms and directly on the massive sinkhole in south Louisiana just as a precaution while new safety protocols are finalized.

Work was put on hold after several more trees were swallowed Monday by the sinkhole in Assumption Parish. It happened less than a week since the last slough-in and just added to the size of the more than 24-acre 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.

The Assumption Parish Police Jury released video of the two slough-ins on August 21 and August 22. A large area of trees was swallowed whole and the entire event was caught on camera.

Officials set sinkhole activity at code three, the highest alert level. No work will be allowed on the sinkhole or within containment berms, though no elevated levels of seismic activity have been detected since last week's slough-in.

Monday's sinking occurred along the eastern edge of the sinkhole and is believed to be related to trees sinking in the sinkhole last week.

Usually a slough-in occurs after the sinkhole burps. 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.

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.

On August 18, about 25 trees were swallowed by the sinkhole in an area measured at 50' x 25'.

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.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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