Report: Hope that Louisiana sinkhole could be contained now gone forever after berm collapse — Sobering comparison photos (VIDEO)

Published: June 9th, 2013 at 7:41 am ET


Title: 20130608-Bayou Corne Flyover #8
Source: On Wings of Care
Date: June 08, 2013

[…] as our video and photos from today attest, whatever false sense of security that berm provided is now gone forever. And with it, the residents’ last remaining hope that the sinkhole could be contained and they might be able to move back into their homes and their lovely way of life. […]

Let’s preface this with a sobering comparison of a few photos taken today with some we took last August […]

Full report here

Watch Saturday’s flyover footage here

Published: June 9th, 2013 at 7:41 am ET


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66 comments to Report: Hope that Louisiana sinkhole could be contained now gone forever after berm collapse — Sobering comparison photos (VIDEO)

  • Cisco Cisco

    Just another great example of government and corporate intelligence brought to you by big oil and the politicians they own!

  • dodge

    The picture which comes to mind is that of the old westerns, and the bones around the dessert water hole with the "bad water". As beautiful as the area is, you just wonder how many bones will surround the edge, when this water does it work. The again like Japans nuclear situation, it's difficult to know where it ends. "round and round it goes… where it stops nobody knows."

  • markww markww

    BS here I tried and called different people on some theories and no one wanted to take responsibility to hear me out and kept tossing the buck to someone else. I had suggestions.

    1. Go back to Macando well and seal the cracks under the Gulf with sealant.This would stop progression of the under Gulf.
    2. Pump liquid Nitrogen into the macando well collapse using 300,000 psi, pipe and stop the melting of the Methane layers and cool he oil down from over 500 degrees.

    3. Go to the Sinkhole seal the salt layer with a plastic shield to stop the water from melting salt to the earth's core. Then fill the dome with a light plastic sealant.

    No one wanted to listen.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Maybe it costs too much money for the Corporations? They would rather use duct tape and cones like they do at Nuclear Plants.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The picture is graphic but also misleading as the area involved is much larger than is indicated by photo.

    Geological formations that took millions of years to form..are moving..'fairly quickly'
    This is no simple tar pit..surrounded by beautiful area.

    Every displacement..will lead to further displacement.

    PS..And it is still just catching it's stride.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Dearest Mark.. The few attempts at sealant..did not work.
    It's also not possible.
    No manmade PSI is any match to that deriving from the well.
    More than one unrepaired.
    All that top hat…junk shot..the little discussed nuclear solution that was tried..nothing.
    The geological condition of the sinkhole will not allow for that type fix..
    Any disturbance now..will further involve the aquifer..(causing further salt erosion)…and further disturbance of the 'disturbed area'.
    This is not light of methane and oil rising.

    • jec jec

      Little discussed nuclear solution tried at the BP Oil spill? Can you elaborate? If they did try this, probably why the government let BP off the hook and took over the handling of re-embursments to victim, and ignoring the victims health. If nuke used, any health issues would HAVE to be hidden. Just like the IRS..deny deny and confuse..

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        Yes..I can elaborate..among the lies..this..
        At 13:08

        Deepwater Disaster – BP Oil Spill (Documentary

        It would have had to have been nuclear..

        • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

          Rocked it but..nada.
          His words spoken like a true oil man.

        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          Many thanks, Heart, for the link to the documentary. BP almost lost the Deepwater Horizon Battle. This documentary tells how close they came to loosing control of the well completely. The final chapter in this story may be written in the future, if and when the seafloor finally ruptures. What if such a blowout were to occur in Alaska, in the winter? Where they can't get equipment they need in, and when the weather is too cold to get the work done?

    • James Hollen

      Like you said Heart of the Rose, this "thing" has just got started !

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        Indeed..James Hollen. Displacement leads to accelerated capacity to utilize the path of least resistance.
        Not good..

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Yes Heart you're right the entire state of LA and the Gulf is subsiding or sinking and it's happening at a rapid pace, faster than scientists had anticipated. (

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Rocked it and fractured the surrounding geology..

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      And that also when they drilled too deep so very sad. BP and the Macondo so very sad for all those folks living down there. Another unfolding catastrophe. IMHO

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    All the while Stephen Chu..denying the nuclear option.

  • rainbeaudais rainbeaudais

    I disagree that all hope is lost. The flooding seen is the OLD western berm. The damaged southern berm has been built back up. Obviously they will now need to extend that berm too. For now, the sinkhole IS contained again against flowing in to the swamps and bayous.

    Video of a tour I went on of the sinkhole site, that gives a little more perspective on the size of it all, especially the sinkhole.

    And video of comparison of south berm before and after it sank.

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Wonderful ground level tour of the Sinkhole and Texas Brine Berms! Many thanks for the great video, rainbeaudais. It really adds an extra dimension to this crisis to see the scale of the sinkhole from ground level. Wonderful that you were able to arrange access like this with TB. Do you believe they can contain the sinkhole now, or will they lose the existing berms, and have to make new the berms back further from the sinkhole?

      PS. If you can get back in there for a new tour about once a month, with your video camera, I surely hope you do so. Great contribution!

    • gr81 gr81

      Fantastic, the surface really has calmed down from all the previous bubbling and oil slicks. Hopefully the methane is no longer such a threat to folks living nearby.

      And it IS encouraging to see green trees and gator inside the subsidence/sinkhole area.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The surface materials are contained (kinda).
    The action is in the subparallel zone.

  • rainbeaudais rainbeaudais

    The purpose of the berms are to try to keep the sinkhole contaminants from the bayou, and not a measurement of the ability of residents to return to their homes.

    • Anthony Anthony

      I have read this post four times now and I'm still not happy with what you are saying. Not that it matters what I think of your posts, but I'm just sayin'.

      No matter how I try to digest your point, it still seems fucked up.

      Sorry Charlie, only Good fish get to be Starkist Tuna!

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The purpose of my comments..are a general discussion concerning the geological conditions of and surrounding the sinkhole.
    Methane bubbling outside the bermed area implies that the contaminants being loosely contained on top has and will infiltrate the varoius depths..from the breach point of 5000 ft or so…

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    I've got a question, for those in the know. Is H2S being found in large quantities coming out of the ground, or is it mostly methane and the distilled gases coming out of the collapsing salt domes?

    It seems H2S is coming out of the burning Bridgeton Landfill in Missouri (the one next to the nuclear waste dump) along with benzene, and I've always thought these chemicals were associated with oil drilling and refining:

    If so, what is buried there that they're not talking about?

    And speaking of the nuclear waste about to burn there – if it hasn't already – the Missouri DNR is only testing for gamma radiation, alpha or beta:

    "State officials confirm to KMOX they are only testing for “gamma” radiation, not alpha and beta. The reason given is that alpha and beta monitoring requires different equipment and lab work which lasts weeks."

    They really don't care, do they?

  • Just start pumping a millions of cubic feet of cement in the Hole. Soon, you will have the makings for a new shopping center foundation, or the largest swimming pool in the world. Maybe a nuclear waste containment or a mega parking lot would suit the citizens. There are just too many positives that can come of this. I just don't see why the loss of a little bit of swampland is making everyone so upset. It would have dried up on its own someday, ya know?

    • James Hollen

      there is NOTHING positive "going to come out of this". It might be swampland to you but it's home to a lot of good people!

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      stellarblue, if the salt dome is being somehow washed away or is moving, the ultimate volume that you would fill with concrete could be enormous. The salt strata extends to a large geographical area. Salt is plastic and will "float" upwards, pushing through rock and earth. Some people suggest that the 30,000 wells that have been drilled around this vast salt strata may interact with it, causing redistribution of forces and fluids, much like fracking.

      caverns as big as the empire state building have been created and filled with vast volumes of toxic material, perhaps including nuclear waste. one or more of these may be collapsing, and their contents squeezed up or laterally to unknown locations. The U.S. strategic oil reserves fill many huge caverns that have been created in the salt domes. Some of these have leaked and been abandoned. When oil is removed, the process expands the cavern. This raises questions about the stability and wisdom of creating salt dome caverns.

      An entire lake was dramatically lost when a mining operation drilled into a salt dome. This all illustrates that a potentially vast situation is in progress. Unknown effects from deep sea oil wells and geological faults create more uncertainty. Maybe man has bitten off more than he can chew.,3928732

      • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

        There have been at least 10 disasters involving salt dome caverns. They can exlplode, leak, and drain lakes. DOW is attempting to seal off and abandon many caverns worldwide, an indication that they dont have eternal life spans. These caverns can be more than a mile under ground level and be as big as the World Trade Center buildings were. A report from Sandia Labs indicated that all of these immense caverns have chunks of salt fall from the walls and roof. When they are abandoned, they attempt to seal the well bore and the caverns build up pressure. This must be perpetually monitored.

        During the post-closure period, the pressure in the cavern will increase because of geothermal heating and salt creep. Several release scenarios have been identified by which contaminants could potentially leave the salt cavern and impact the environment: failure of the cavern seal, release through cracks or leaky interbeds, and partial collapse of the roof. From this they make a projection of how many people will get cancer and if the profit is worth the risk

  • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

    So there are people there who believe they could return to their lives their? What a bunch of dolts.

    • Anthony Anthony

      It could happen to anyone. I'm sure it must hurt a lot already without more unkindness heaped on top.

    • rainbeaudais rainbeaudais

      Well gosh VyseLegendaire ….some of those "dolts" never even left "their".

  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    Next step is to make it a state park and charge admission.

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    Note the OIL drilling rig in operation next to the sinkhole. Seem like that would only aggravate the situation. Corruption and corporate greed has destroyed these peoples lives. Still no buy outs as promised by Jindal 6 months ago. Shame on all involved.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    I'm sorry I don't see any good coming out of this for the people there or for the environment. I think it's a dangerous place right now, I wouldn't go near it.

    • andagi andagi

      Dear WindSolarPlease,
      My heart goes out to all affected.

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Aloha andagi

        My heart also goes out to them. Most people are resilient and strong willed to get through things. Whatever is in the future for them, I hope they find the strength to handle it. I just wish everyone would go to a safer area.

        Unfortunately their environment there, and their area might never be able to be like it was.
        I am concerned this is going to get even worse than it is.
        This should never have happened.

        Good luck to them for a fair buyout, I hope they get it.

  • dosdos dosdos

    Let's clear something up. Simple physics. Rock is heavier than water, evident as rock sinks in water. Rock from the neighboring strata is filling the failed cavern Oxy#3, not water. Any brine in the cavern is being forced up to the surface. Hence, there will be no appreciable amount of water in the salt dome to eat away at its structure.

    So far, only Oxy#3 has failed. Growth will be primarily to the west and south. Once everything settles in the shifting process, the sinkhole will cover about 30 acres at the surface. Subsidence will cover an additional 30 to 50 acres. At this point, the sinkhole will stop growing.

    • rainbeaudais rainbeaudais

      Two things that can't seem to get cleared up, and stay cleared up dosdos…

      1)-water is not pouring in and melting the dome.

      2)-the berms were not meant to stop the sinkhole from growing.

      And just for the heck of it, let me throw in that the south berm did NOT collapse in to the bayou, as is being stated by some folks.

      • dosdos dosdos

        The spread will be mostly to the west. Think of a funnel shape collapse, with the spout sitting just off the edge of the dome cap, perpendicular from the Oxy #3 wellhead to the edge of the dome cap. The wellhead is at the eastern edge of the funnel, situated over the dome. By path of least resistance, the sinkhole formed on the eastern and northern side of the funnel (not the very edge, but in that direction from the center). As more and material is drawn down to fill the void created by the strata going into the cavern, it is now expanding west and south, in the previously undisturbed area of the funnel. As more and more falls in, the path of least resistance is going to shift toward the center of the funnel, west and south, more west than south.

        As for the water, there is very little water that deep because of the pressure. It's mostly oil and gas sands and shale that have been trapped by strata of rock for millennia. There will be no degradation of the dome itself, other than the small fractures in the salt caused by the weight of the rock in the cave-in, not enough to endanger the dome.


        • dosdos dosdos

          The berms were meant to contain the oil and other pollutants from reaching the bayou and the rest of the environment, as well as serve as a service platform for trucks and boats. The berms will collapse as the ground continues to subside beneath them. The added weight of the berms will make the ground sink more quickly than if they were not there. It's not a huge difference, because the ground beneath the berms weighs more than the berm, but it is a difference nonetheless. If they truly want a permanent berm, they need to make it larger in diameter. They have underestimated the ultimate size of the sinkhole by about 50%.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Rock from the disturbed area..and the collapsing cavern wall is filling the cavern.
    The aquifer is involved closer to the surface.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    It would have been different if the breach had been from the top..
    This is a whole different ball of wax.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I think it is important to keep in mind the pressure under which these activities are taking place.
    Why? ..rock mechanics..shale v.pressure..etc.
    This will have an effect..

  • ftlt

    Has anyone ever contained a sinkhole anywhere… Is is not a sinkhole's very nature to collapse until it reaches its own limit…

    On the flip side here, this sinkhole will probably not get that much bigger.. It has been made not clear on here, whether the new areas are just sluffs near the top edges of the original sinkhole or that the bottom of the hole is continuing to increase in size as well…

    Does anyone have a side view graphics on the the size of the sinkhole over time????


  • ftlt

    Rain: Thanks Great link… That seems to be what I thought was going on…

    The huge hole is finding its final angle of repose… Surface water and subterranean forces are having they way there…

    Hope, this is a wake up call… But most likely not, where/when under or un regulated greed is allowed to flourish..

    Screw Capitalism!!!

    By the way, hate your moniker picture.. I cannot abide that hateful flag…

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      ftlt, hey c'mon, that graphic only shows the shallow surface of the ENORMOUS structures undergoing change deep below the surface. I try to imagine those pitch black caverns, nearly 1/2 mile tall, reaching a mile under the earth and aquifer, up to 300 feet across. Massive blocks of salt and stone crashing down into inky pools of oily, radioactive liquid.

      If you look at a salt shaker cap, the ones with a lot of holes (30 to 50), and enlarge the diameter to two miles, that is a pretty close approximation of the number and spacing of these enormous caverns in the salt dome.

      Some seven companies still work these caverns, which can be closer to each other than they are tall. Every time they add and remove oil, waste and liquid gas, more salt gets eroded away. Its a honeycomb of unimaginably large caverns down there. One engineer said the oxy cavern is "fracked out, cracked to the top" The physical reality down there is ominous and never fully imaged or understood. No way to "manage" or stabilize it if something goes wrong. The Great Halls of Hades

      • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

        a scale model of the salt dome situation; If the Napoleon salt dome was scaled down to around 40 feet in diameter, (40 ft is about the length of a bus) it would extend down almost 12 stories into the earth. This is salt, surrounded by rock.

        If you buried about 40 high pressure cylinders, 1 ft in diameter by six feet tall, spaced every 6 feet, so that 4 to 6 feet of salt and earth cover them, this approximates the man made caverns. The top layer of tree, earth, aquifer and caprock is a layer nearly two and a half feet thick.

        70 foot tall trees would scale down to 3 inches. As one of the caverns started to cave in, a little pond 2 feet wide and six inches deep would form on the surface, the sinkhole. As rock slumped down into the deep dark void of the pressure cylinder, water would find its way down and oil and waste would find its way up from the 10 foot depths. Some different gasses would bubble up within a few feet in and around the sinkhole.

        The pressure may be a few thousand pounds per square inch, a far far more radical environment than outer space. The pressure compresses butane gas into a liquid. But the familiar metal walls of the pressure cylinders are not really there, its just hollowed out salt, under extreme pressure. It has literally pushed its way through solid rock over eons.

        At this scale, a man would be the size of an ant. A huge cement truck would be less than one and a half inches long. less than six feet away, other caverns exist. Are…

        • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

          are all these other cylinders structurally sound? Could they sprout leaks, collapse or explode? Exploding is ruled out because of no oxygen. But gas reaching the surface can ignite. You can sense the magnitude of these numerous half mile tall man made caverns, some filled with toxic waste, gas or oil. Whats really going on down there in Hades Caverns, no one will ever really know for sure.

          • James Hollen

            I do not think people, in general, are ready for what's about to unfold. The oil/gas industry has started something Louisiana is not prepared for or the rest of the country for that matter.

        • ftlt

          CodeMD: I would think the caverns will eventually fill themselves with water…

          The largest sink hole on earth is what – 2000 ft across???..

          We are not talking the Qattara Depression here… If we are, it will not be caused by a gas/waste storage unit over some salt domes…

          Don't run with this… What has happened is bad… And should have been avoided…

          However, what is being put forth here is, we are causing massive changes in the shallow lithosphere at this sinkhole's location… I'm not on board with that…

          We might be – Maybe, through climate change (Temp related shallow lithospheric expansion).. Yes, we might be doing this on a grand scale all over the planet…

          But, the effects of massive fracking, oil and water mining created shallow lithosphere instability – will be somewhat isolated like this sinkhole… The scale can be large… See the subsidence in the Central Valley of California due to ground water extraction… A HUGE AREA!! But, not catastrophic… The earthquake potential is the scary side of Fracking IMO… Still, it will not be an instant Qattara Depression…

          I think, this is what it seems to be – a sinkhole in a sensitive spot… Made more sensitive by the presence of gas and waste storage unsafely placed in the wrong area..

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Cough… cough..I tend to disagree here.
    But whatever..
    On a side note..Erin Brokovich was arrested for drunk boating over the weekend..
    Ha..excessive fun..while Heart slaved over a 'hot' blog.

    I'm going to the feedstore…

    • ftlt


    • 16Penny 16Penny

      I agree Heart. From the key on their Ariel Sinkhole Perimeter map:

      Raw Internal Volume Measures Approximately 1,720,165 CU. YDS.
      (142,600 CU. YDS. Increase)

      That kind of an increase, even being ignorant of the volume of the sinkhole that is 10 ft. or less, is significant. If the hole was just settling down, the soil finding it's angle of repose, the volume would be nearly constant, not a near 10% increase in a month and the same bottom depth which changes drastically after each slough in event. When The sinkhole stops growing in volume, say less than 2%, for a few months I might agree with saying it is slowing down but I don't see anything to support that idea.

      Formation water is coming in contact with the failed cavern and the side of the salt dome below the aquifer and it is dissolving the salt dome. There is no sense in believing that a hydrocarbon bearing formation is in contact withe the collapse zone and failed cavern but attempting to deny the presence of formation water. Especially while they are claiming that all 8 of the previously located hydrocarbon traps are empty. The only thing left to leak out is any hydrocarbons flowing through the permeable layers around the collapse zone and the formation water that is always present (in greater volumes than the hydrocarbons) in the permeable geology. Don't be fooled.

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        @16penny….Thanks for the elaboration..on my comments.
        The fact that it is widening at present..doesn't mean much to me in the big picture of things

  • rainbeaudais rainbeaudais

    You're welcome ftlt. It's okay about the flag. I used to hate it myself, then made the decision that good or bad, our history is our history, and can't be obliterated. I am not my ancestors. I'm glad I didn't live in that time period. I would not have agreed with slavery. Would probably have been hung for treason. But, the flag represents more than the ugly stuff, including all the men and women that died under it, doing what they felt was their duty.

  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    As other's have mentioned, I'm concerned that other caverns and drilling locations will also start to collapse nearby and increasing the size again. What the PDF that rainbeau linked doesn't have though is the location of Big Humm.

    And because it's bugging me…
    Their – a possessive pronoun. Ie. their house, their cat

    there – multiple usages, but in this context an adverb indicating a location.

    they're – a conjunction of "they are"

    Please use the proper one in sentences. It is maddening to see and detracts from the point.

    • James Hollen

      HUH ?

    • ftlt

      Sorry, I know, I slaughter the language on here… Much has to do with my personal laziness in not editing or even rereading what I have written…

      And the template on these things MBs go crazy on my computer at times too…

      I get embarrassed reading the errors I have posted on here..

      HAHA… I think, you'll just have to live with it from myself and others on here…