Professor on Sinkhole: Salt dome can flow out like toothpaste when under pressure (VIDEO)

Published: November 20th, 2012 at 12:41 pm ET


Follow-up to: [intlink id=”new-official-sinkhole-image-now-shows-original-edge-of-massive-salt-dome-collapsed-section-may-be-thousands-of-feet-tall-photo” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Title: Is it dangerous to live on a salt dome, experts assess risk
Source: FOX44
Author: Kris Cusanza
Date: November 19, 2012 at 6:30pm
Emphasis Added

“[…] You’re also drilling for oil and gas, which, in some instances, may be under pressure and not being controlled properly could come spewing up to the surface,” [LSU geology professor Jeffrey Nunn] said. “Most of the risk would come from some sort of seepage or leak from the cavern.” […]

In October, scientist with the Shaw Group explained to residents at a community meeting in Bayou Corne that they believe one reason for the giant sinkhole is a pressure issue at the failed Texas Brine cavern. They explained that pressure around the cavern was too great and caused cracks or “fractures” in the side of the cavern closest to the sinkhole. The pressure went through these cracks and pushed upward eventually causing the collapse and the sinkhole.

Nunn explained in an interview held prior to that meeting that salt domes, especially the walls of salt caverns, are extremely ductile. He says the wrong mix of pressure and exposed periods of time could cause a problem.

“If you put pressure on one end of a tube of toothpaste and you took the cap off so it’s free to flow, it’s just going to flow out one side,” he said. “If you did the same thing to most other solids, nothing would happen.” […]

Watch the video here

Published: November 20th, 2012 at 12:41 pm ET


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4 comments to Professor on Sinkhole: Salt dome can flow out like toothpaste when under pressure (VIDEO)

  • gladys a milyon gladys a milyon

    ..most other solids.

    Anyway . What if the toothpaste tube has weak spots ? Two.holes or more ? Also has a mixture of gas and liquid with the toothpaste consistency salt?

    He must be tenured

  • PavewayIII PavewayIII

    It is generally NOT dangerous to live on a salt dome. The risks are over geological time-frames like living near a fault line or living near a dormant volcano. On the other hand, it *is* dangerous to live in the middle of a petrochemical plant or on top of a tank in a tank farm.

    The real issue here is nobody understood the risk of certain man-made changes to these structures. And since the livelihood of most of the people in Southern Louisiana depends on processing fossil fuels and chemicals, you're not going to have a lot of questions *until* a disaster happens. The companies are always going to deny responsibility – that shouldn't shock anyone.

    Risk assessment by example. Risk mitigation through plausible denial. The way the victims are treated today is the best measure of how potential victims will be treated. The simplest answer for government and industry: we can't quantify the risk, so there is 'little' risk. Maybe we'll toss in a few more inspections.

    And for Bayou Corne homeowners? Sorry – you didn't bribe, er… donate enough to any Louisiana politicians to matter, so you don't. You're more like a temporary annoyance to the powers that be. They will throw just enough money at you to keep the complaints down, but you know how this will end for the little people.

  • markww markww

    How about like a Texas Size ZIT