Louisiana Sinkhole Briefing: Essentially, the earth is fractured from the salt cavern all the way to surface — Crude oil coming up through fracture zone (VIDEO)

Published: October 26th, 2012 at 7:30 am ET


Follow-up to: [intlink id=”sinkhole-meeting-going-stop-crude-oil-coming-surface-dont-kind-answer-working-state-geologist-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink

Assumption Parish, Louisiana Sinkhole Meeting, October 23, 2012:

Watch the 1 hour and 40 minute briefing here

Published: October 26th, 2012 at 7:30 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Sinkhole Meeting: We don’t know how we’re going to stop crude oil from coming to surface — Turning to international experts for help (VIDEO) October 10, 2012
  2. State Expert: Crude oil and gas now coming up all over around giant sinkhole — Swamps bubbling back in the trees — Started a few days ago… it’s a good thing (VIDEO) October 26, 2012
  3. Sinkhole Geologist: The outer edge of the salt dome, best we can tell it’s gone… at the location of the cavern (VIDEO) October 24, 2012
  4. Gov’t experts now admitting “crude oil” is what’s in giant sinkhole, not diesel — Oil likely coming up side of salt dome October 10, 2012
  5. Officials admit crude oil and methane are coming from massive underground formation below sinkhole October 15, 2012

60 comments to Louisiana Sinkhole Briefing: Essentially, the earth is fractured from the salt cavern all the way to surface — Crude oil coming up through fracture zone (VIDEO)

  • vivvi

    So … there is no way to stop it then? Nice.

  • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

    It's gonna' be the new North American volcano.

  • An admission .
    The big picture is ugly .
    And getting uglier daily …

  • dosdos dosdos

    Better geological modification through fracking.

  • jec jec

    Can they spell EVACUATION? VOCs, methane gas (exploses!) and more. Get the people out of there. Texas Brine had better have GOOD insurance..sadly I am expecting a bankrupt company to bailout soon..

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      I read that one of those companies are declaring bankruptcy and will have to find the article as I don't recall whether it was the infamous Texas Brine but it wouldn't surprise me.

      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        Bayer MaterialScience somehow bought Texas Brine years ago without owning it. The expenses and profits go to Bayer's books, though.

        That sounds close enough. The lawyers will smell the big $ soon.

  • Gaffney

    Why is everyone so concerned about this, how many people will this effect like 100?

    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      I think it could affect many more areas and therein lies the problem. I don't think anyone knows for sure how catastrophic the current situation could be if exacerbated by other sinkholes and failures underground as these salt domes encompass a wide area. I'm just learning about salt domes, so feel free to correct me as I hope you are correct but if I were one of the 150 homeowners, I know I would be quite upset about possibly losing my home, etc. JMHO

    • StPaulScout StPaulScout

      If crude is coming to the surface, and it becomes a major leak, it will effect the entire GOM potentialy. It just depends how much of what leaks out.

    • krugthecaveman krugthecaveman

      This is a symptom of greed and gimme gimme. Only 100? Wow! Wish like hell you were one of them. Mined the cavern too thin and who's to say the Gulf isn't the real source.

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      The Parish said 1200 people at one time. I'm not sure how that reconciles with 150 homes. Maybe they're not counting apartments or mobile homes.

      And you're missing the point entirely, Gaffney.

      What if there's an industrial accident a half-mile from your house tomorrow that involves geological, chemical and flammable gas hazards?

      Would $850/wk and living out of a suitcase in a Super 8 motel keep you happy if you were under a mandatory evacuation? Would your family be happy?

      They may end the evacuation tomorrow or three months from now, but they're not really sure. They put out a press release or update their web page every day, so you can check that. Except you don't have internet access anymore. Maybe you never did.

      In any case, they'll have a disaster town meeting every couple of weeks somewhere. If you figure out where (and they actually show up) you can yell your questions out along with 50 – 100 other angry residents to find out what's going on and when will this all end.

      Then you can go back to the Super 8 and tell your family that you didn't find out anything useful and you have no idea when you can go back home. They're drillin' more holes and thinkin' about the problem. That's all you got.

      Now say the same thing happened to you and 12,000 other people. No $850/wk and an even more guarded and useless report on 'progress'. Where are you going to go? For how long?

      This should be a lesson for how screwed any of us would be in…

      • Maggie123

        Pavewaylll – Thanks for describing lives of the evacuated and others in the area in some detail. It takes tremendous psychological effort to live as these people live – critical uncertainty at all times yet a need to also try to live in a way that "feels normal".

        It's what we see during evacuations like wildfire or flood. But those are more "known" and usually brief. Devastating but "within range of human experience". Bayou Corne people don't know if they can trust the air they breathe or water they drink … in that way more like Fukushima!

        I've not picked up bits on what's happened with domestic livestock or pets but assume there are some with these worries.

        Toxic industrial activity from extraction to processing to storage is so widespread that I suspect, unfortunately, we'll see these life-shattering situations develop more often. (I'm sure in the world there are more than one of these situations unfolding!)

        • PurpleRain PurpleRain

          I can't imagine how those (evacuated) people make it into work each day in any shape to actually get any 'work' done for whomever they might work for…or how their children make it to school (bus routes totally disrupted), never mind any real homework schedule or after-school activities schedule (even if after-school just means older-day-care-type situations)…… My heart goes out to them …and that doesn't even take into account whether or not any had pets, dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc. etc.

      • Anthony Anthony

        Very well said!

        • omniversling

          thanks for your measured, empathic and thoughtful comments Maggie, Paveway, MS…seems Gaffney has crawled back into his cave with his dismissive, ignorant hard-heart..

    • Maggie123

      Gaffney: Your question is surprising. The number of people affected ranges from the local residents (I think 150 homes were evacuated early September – those families unable to return) — to larger immediate/regional communities — to well beyond.

      Toxins in air, water, earth are an immediate harm (to people, to all creatures, to vegetation.) Major fresh water aquifers supplying that part of the US are at risk.

      Ultimately – ALL of us, the earth itself, present and future, are at risk. This sinkhole is only one of thousands of similar earth/life damaging active situations around the globe. Just as others in the US and the world are unaware of the "small" sinkhole event in southern Louisiana – we can be sure we, ourselves, are unaware of similar "local environmental crises" elsewhere.

      But all of these are straws across the camel's back. They seem 'mere blips' except in their cumulative weight. Do we really expect earth to maintain capacity to "repair, heal, restore" itself at the rate we're creating havoc? Massive species losses have occurred (flora/fauna both)in the last few decades – a process that accelerates. Ocean chemistry is shifting to "too acidic for shell building creatures to survive". The list is unending … each just so much "straw"!

      • Maggie123

        Some of these "straws" are huge: Niger Delta, Gulf oil spill, Chernobyl, Fukushima obviously so. But shale oil mining and mountain top removal also destroy habitats across miles – the Canadian XL pipeline project at site of mining has potential to destroy a region "the size of Florida"! Waterways, migratory air and ground pathways as well as forest and habitat are disrupted and/or destroyed. Frack drilling may appear "a local concern" but like the others, its damage feeds into larger water/atmospheric earth systems.

        I think we've generally been content to imagine "if it's not in my backyard, it's not important to me". But in these times, these conditions, with accelerating havoc small and large – the entire earth is everybody's "backyard"!

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      Assumption parish is not the only salt dome. There are many..all over the planet, stuffed with nuclear waste, hydrocarbons, and other flammable crap, and if, indeed, as suspected, our planet has entered into a growth period, with lava movement underground, tectonic plates breaking apart and shifting, and numerous previously silent volcanos (before Christ, as last known eruption) then all salt domes are in jeopardy.

      Wasn't it said, that if, just this, one salt dome, was to explode, it would be reflected off the moon.. well, that would surely affect more than 100, or 1000 people.

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Hopefully a different way of extraction and storage comes from this with better insights about potential future hazards. Did someone frack illegally and cause this? Was everything done correctly and legally but it was inevitable a crack would form someday given the ingredients in the original cavern? Should fracking be allowed in salt and sand formations? These are important questions and this event may influence if they are raised and if they will be answered. But, another big concern is that people are clearly leaving behind large deposits of toxins in soft soils on top of a very large earthquake hazard zone that has a tendency to have catastrophic earth movements on a fairly regular basis every so many hundred years. Read Markww's posts on that. The question becomes – how many more of these dumping sites exist in this area, how much fracking is going on here, and of course, if this phenomenon continues and can happen elsewhere, what about the nuclear power plants nearby that are allowing fracking beside or under them? That's reason enough for me to pay attention.

    • Michele

      The USGS called them tremors that residents were feeling, because they were man made by the oil companies, they did not count them as quakes. When the so called "tremors" stopped the sinkhole began bubbling (methane). The salt dome holds petroleum products including nuclear waste, and the toxins were in the ground water and the main aquifer for approximately 75,000 people. Not only has the salt dome fractured, it continues to grow and there is bubbling from at least 50 miles away. The sinkhole is within 500 feet of a storage salt cavern that is filled with butane. So, there is oil and natural gas, butane, methane and nuclear waste. This week the area has had some major quakes and the seismographs are very colorful. All of this is connected to the BP Oil spill…they never capped off the well, they also, broke through the Gulf floor and there is a leak of methane. One of most frightening scenarios is that the recent quakes and the extreme pressure, will lead to a major earthquake in the New Madrid fault, which runs through the middle of the US, which is potentially a disaster for millions of people and in theory would change the topography of the US, making Little Rock, Arkansas a new port city. And as the cherry on the sundae, the Gulf Stream has changed its course to follow the coastline of the US, it has never done this in recorded history; and has slowed to a crawl…which is affecting Europe's weather.

      • jec jec

        On possible trigger quakes, Iceland is going to have a large one in the northern zone..they have put out a citizens' alert…See Jon's Iceland blog.

  • Usefulbreather

    "There are 3 or 4 Oil and Gas production zones…and where the gas and oil is coming from, it's comng from these"

    Which one? Where are the isotopic test results matching it to an exact source? What we have here is more process of elimination instead of a true investigation which would have chemically fingerprinted the exact source months ago…common practice in the industry that does not involve the process of elimination or months of vague testing to isolate the source to 3 or 4 formations. They just admitted it was crude and connected to the bubbling gas on 10/10. Unacceptable answer.

    • jec jec

      Oil fingerprint for BP's Macondo well. Wonder if one of the "production zones" or crude matches with the fingerprint from BPs Macondo crude? Strangely, while govenment mentions several production zones..they dont say WHICH..and if its BP. A simple YES or NO would be appreciated by many fearing the worse…so DHS..get out the info on the fingerprinting of the crude..which production wells fractured into the saltdome? And HOW MUCH crude/gas is expected from the sites?

      Just 100 people? Over 150 homes evacuated! To start with..! Add that up..along with animals and livelyhood..ITS A BIG DEAL! Add in the local community stuck with explosive gas fears, VOC venting all over, illness..health damages..home/livelyhood damage..ITS A BIG DEAL!

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      Based on the geological info I have seen, and given that the ground is fractured from the surface to the salt dome, the oil and gas are coming from all of the zones at the same time.

      the bigger concern is that as the oil/gas seep up fresh water seeps down. this will disolve more salt, and the sinkhole will expand. if enough salt disolves, the presurised caverns adjacent to the breach will rupture dumping 1000's of gallons of propane and butane to the surface.

      they should halt trading in shares of Texas Brine. let the shareholders take the hit too.

    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      "…What we have here is more process of elimination instead of a true investigation which would have chemically fingerprinted the exact source months ago…"

      That was the intent. They were more worried about crude migrating from a different storage cavern through the salt. They tested and compared all of the existing ones first to eliminate them. They were hoping it was formation crude from outside the salt, and it was.

      They don't have readily-available individual samples of pure crude from all the oil-bearing layers outside the salt. Some were never drilled, some were never produced. Others were drilled and produced from more than one layer, so they're mixtures. They're going to nearby wells and getting samples from what they think are the different layers if they can.

      Even if they do find the leaking crude is from one specific layer, how would that help them? They're all thousands of feet down. You can't drill down to it and somehow drain it (which would cause more collapse). They still need to seal off that entire side of the salt and *all* the layers if that's possible.

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        I agree, this is the best picture so far, PavewayIII. Though, i am still apprehensive that it is complete. I do hope they get this plugged somehow, but, for me, this whole event tells me that fracking and oil and gas extraction in soft soils, sands, and salt formations does not mix.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Needs to be rules against destroying nature and our environment. Seriously.

    • Maggie123

      TheBigPicture, others … this morning listened to today's news at Democracy Now. A lecture by Noam Chomsky is featured. Chomsky brings up Ernst Mayr's analysis on prospects for human survival. (http://www.democracynow.org/2012/10/26/who_owns_the_world_noam_chomsky)

      I took a minute to locate more on Mayr's predictions. The following is from a much longer text found at the link. It's titled "Priorities and Prospects" and is in turn excerpted from Chomsky's 2003 book, "Hegemony or Survival". http://www.chomsky.info/books/hegemony01.htm.

      Chomsky writes:
      "…one of the great figures of contemporary biology, Ernst Mayr, published some reflections on the likelihood for success in (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence)… Mayr took exception to …(those who) confidently expected to find higher intelligence. …Mayr estimated the number of species since the origin of life at about 50 billion, only one of which "achieved the kind of intelligence needed to establish a civilization." …Mayr speculates that higher intelligence may not be favored by selection. The history of life on Earth, he concluded, refutes the claim that "it is better to be smart than to be stupid," at least judging by biological success:…"

      Chomsky goes on to say:
      "We are entering a period of human life that may provide an answer to the question of whether it is better to be smart than stupid …"

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        Dang it, Maggie123! Just when i was hoping that becoming smarter would be good for me 😉 I hope this doesn't apply to mindfulness. These discussions always leave out self awareness and mindfulness and only include cleverness and the most rudimentary logic skills. Is it intelligence or a lack of mindfulness that's the bigger problem?

      • Radio VicFromOregon

        BTW, is this in your area, Maggie123? If so, maybe you can attend if you aren't already?


        I was looking for models of cooperative dialogue of open online forums for solutions for the earth and humanity and found it.

        • Maggie123

          Hi VicFromOregon – meant to get back sooner – no, the cooperativegrocer gathering isn't close enough to me for me to attend. But I am a strong supporter of all efforts people make to organize themselves along cooperative democratic principles – so good on them!

  • kenneth.kienle

    People: "Give us your oil and gas you old dirty hag, or else we'll just take it by force!"

    Earth: "So, you want my oil and gas? Here you go…"

    • Maggie123

      Kenneth kienle: I've wondered what happens with the oil they're skimming or removing however they do it. We don't hear where it goes – and especially we don't hear if it's considered a "bonanza" by those doing the recovering! Seems if it's viable 'stuff' being recovered, it can be processed and enter the market? And if so – who benefits? Seems to me the local people should be able to justify claim to any profits until their situation is resolved!!

      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        Oxidized, watery oil is pretty much useless. They probably pay to have that – and the 'oily vegetation' incinerated. Clean Harbors has facilities all over for that. Texas is probably the closest.

        They may be able to sell the crude recovered from the cavern if its clean enough, but I doubt they get much for it. Its not economical to suck and truck low-priced crude. That's why a lot of the wells around there were abandoned. You only get $90/bbl for crude when you pipe millions of barrels of clean crude to a refinery. A lot of refineries won't even accept junk oil by the truckload – you have to burn it or bury it in an injection well.

        • jec jec

          Somewhere there was a comment on the recovered oil being processed and sold…..not sure where tho..but they have a third party company doing that.

          Agree..the profits..if any, need to go to restoring the people who are/were impacted..ALL OF THEM..without quibbling..and giving the profits to cover the GOVERNMENTS expenses. People first…forget giving out "vouchers..".,or credits on income tax..or low rate government loans of 5 % when the interest rate is .5%….Just saying..

        • Maggie123

          Thank you, Pavewaylll – as usual, you explain clearly and well!

      • kenneth.kienle

        Presumably this area is radioactive, correct? I've at least heard there is that possibility, however I haven't seen any current information about radiation levels there. If that is true, it could mean the oil is possibly radioactive to some extent. Are they processing this oil for the market? If this goes unchecked, it could theoretically result in radioactive plastics, fuel, lubricants, etcetera.

        • Michele


          The radioactive waste is a product of oil processing and it was mentioned early on, now the information is being held back. The trouble is that there are so many salt caverns used for storage that we have no idea what is underground.

        • kimfeil

          http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0320/ML032050687.pdf when the conversation on this sinkhole was on radiation on some other news article, this doc was referenced as proof of radioactive storage…but you will have to read it and verify that…I’m just passing this along and haven’t read it, but kept it just in case I had time to read it. My email is Kimfeil@sbcglobal.net if you read it and have a conclusion…thanks for letting me know.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    At its 'best'. perhaps…something like Nigeria.
    At its worse..perhaps an event of catastrophic speculation.


    It can be said.. however.. that from the moment the salt dome was breached…from that day forward..this area..is ruined.

    • Maggie123

      Heart of the Rose: Your link gives the clear reality message. Rivers and ocean also badly damaged I've read.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Update: Texas Brine Billed For Sinkhole


    Notice the comment about the water bearing sands under the clay layer..
    Investigation of gas build up…

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Sinkhole quake jolts further than Bayou Corne


    I'm (again) sorry if this is a repost..

    • jec jec

      yup a good post, Heart. " about 24 hours after residents learned that the outer edge of the 1-mile by 3-mile Salt Dome under many of them has collapsed.

      "The preliminary location was just SE of Oxy #3 cavern at a depth of 500 m.," the officials posted at 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 25.

      Oxy #3 cavern is leased by Houston-based Texas Brine LLC.

      The officials also stated on that same post, "There is no additional information specific to this seismic activity at this time.""

      And the USGS does NOT post these seismic activities to their site..due to a "man made." classificiation. which leads to an interesting thought..HOW MANY EQ HAVE BEEN HIDDEN BY USGS DUE TO OTHER MANMADE ACTS? Thought the idea was to give a warning..not to hide businesses who have made a mistake…..Just saying.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Sometimes…all I have to offer is a song..

    The Cave-Mumford and Sons


  • Radio VicFromOregon

    I think Mr. Hecox's portrayal today of what they think might be occurring is the best model they've offered so far. I still think it is incomplete. But, i don't think this is contained to the cavern alone, unless the geologists would like to take back the comment that the cavern walls are essentially gone.

    • jec jec

      Those geologists need to watch what happened in Italy very closely..manslaughter charges if they say folks are SAFE..and then there is loss of life…Not that the geologists are not telling what is going on…but should human safety be glossed over..those providing the "be calm..all is okay" statements could be held accountable, al la Italy. Its a thin line…

    • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

      Agreed …They are misleading the public by saying they are safe…where they currently have been evacuated too. So yes they are *technically safe. However it is their homes, livestock & all living things in the surrounding area that are being poisoned. The dead trees around that sinkhole are proof enough. Wasn't there butane being detected early on too? And they already lied about the actual radiation readings. Thanks to a whistle blower for informing the public.

      Sinkhole radiation 15 times over limit, residents urged to record health signs

      BAYOU CORNE SINKHOLE DISASTER, Examiner.com AUGUST 24, 2012 BY: DEBORAH DUPRE A non-government group is urging Bayou Corne sinkhole area residents to use a new record log as a veteran radiation expert says Louisiana environmental officials are “in denial” over hazards posed by elevated radium levels that are actually fifteen times higher than the state limit, a “worst nightmare coming true,” according to an environmental attorney.

      Stanley Waligora, a New Mexico-based radiation protection consultant and leading authority on health risks of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) has confirmed that radium levels at Bayou Corne’s sinkhole are not within safe limits, but instead, roughly 15 times higher than the state’s acceptable level, according to one of the nation’s leading environmental attorney’s Stuart Smith.

  • arclight arclight

    repost but first is this hurricane going to have an effect on the sinkhole operations etc?
    More than a Dozen Nuclear Plants Near Hurricane Sandy’s Path Brace for Impact
    Page added on October 27, 2012

    “We will station inspectors at the sites if we know they could be directly impacted.”

    NRC – people you can trust!/sarc

    list of reactors in danger here


    as we can trust the NRC as much as we trust TEPGUV as much as we trust the IAEA…

    take a leaf out of the japanese citizenry, better get yer giegers going!

    peace to all those on the eastern seaboard and those downwind,, northern europe in fact..
    unless the wind is circulating inland