Title: Is it dangerous to live on a salt dome, experts assess risk
Author: Kris Cusanza
Date: November 19, 2012 at 6:30pm
“[...] 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.” [...]
Published: November 20th, 2012 at 12:41 pm ET