Bayou Corne Sinkhole

SECTOR: Geohazards

Assumption Parish, Louisiana

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Bayou Corne Application Sheet

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When Massive Sinkhole Threatens Roadway, Authorities Monitor with ShapeArray

When residents of Bayou Corne, Louisiana, reported the smell of methane and area boaters noticed streams of bubbles deep in the swamp water, geological experts began to search for a source of seismic activity. They were unable to do so until a massive 4046-sq. metre (one acre) sinkhole opened on land leased by the Texas Brine Company, August 3, 2012.

Geologists discovered the sinkhole was a result of an underground structural failure. The affected area was located over a vast, cavernous, underground salt deposit, known as a salt dome. Companies extract the saline brine associated with salt deposits for use in industrial applications like oilfield borehole drilling. A fissure opened in the cavern’s supporting wall, causing rock and sediment to fall into the void, which created the sinkhole on the surface.

The sinkhole eventually grew to over 30 acres in size. According to an official statement issued by Texas Brine, the area of the stabilized sinkhole was roughly the size of 25 American Football fields. A year later, in August 2013, the sinkhole was estimated to be approximately 230 m (750 ft.) deep. The sinkhole’s edge lay only 275 m (900 ft.) from LA 70, threatening an important part of the state’s traffic infrastructure and the only entrance and exit to the town of Bayou Corne.

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