State Expert: We’re now looking at the stability of 7 salt caverns by giant sinkhole — We used to be mainly worried about just one — “A lot of things going on” (VIDEO)

Published: February 10th, 2013 at 10:41 am ET
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Title: Public Briefing 2/6/13 – Part 13
Source: Assumption Parish Police Jury
Date Published: Feb. 7, 2013

Gary Hecox, geologist working on the issue for the State of Louisiana:

The last thing I’m going to talk about here is the cavern stability, that’s part of what we’ve got to look at.

We started off back in September everybody was mainly worried about the Oxy 3 cavern.

Because of a lot of things going on, we’ve expanded the scope; we’re now looking at all the caverns shown here.

We’re looking at Oxy 3 obviously, Oxy 1, 2, 9, 10; Crosstex 2 and 1. They’re all included in the analysis.

Watch the video here

Published: February 10th, 2013 at 10:41 am ET
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61 comments

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61 comments to State Expert: We’re now looking at the stability of 7 salt caverns by giant sinkhole — We used to be mainly worried about just one — “A lot of things going on” (VIDEO)

  • Cisco Cisco

    Oh, Oh Oh…dominoes! But, I'm sure that'll never happen, right?


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  • razzz razzz

    Ever get the feeling there is something they are not telling you?

    When they mentioned re-routing the nearby hiway, that told me things are going very wrong. Now, after doing thumper and shock-wave for ground density reports and waiting for 3D sonar feedback from 3 or 4 wells if they find the cap rock is disintegrating they should declare the place a disaster area.

    Even if the caverns can be emptied apparently them holding pressure will be a problem. Can only guess water intrusion. If they begin flaring empty caverns, you'll know the salt dome is leaking like a sieve.

    Homeland Security acts like an information collection agency with statements put out on a need-to-know basis at their whim.


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  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    Hmm sounds like something I was saying awhile ago. Once one goes it releases the static pressure on the other caverns causing shear and subsidence of the material around them.


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  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    That entire salt dome is compromised. The helicorders are showing non stop seismic activity and multiple cavern degredations. The sinkhole is no longer a sinkhole.It is now a toxic chemical lake with an exposed and open crude oil source at the bottom that will eventually grow to the size of the salt dome circumference. All material still left in those caverns will soon be released into the enviroment including the waste products like NORM and whatever else they dumped down there, besides the known petro products. With the heavy rains coming over the next three days in that area, more chemicals and petroleum products and by products will be continously entering the bayous and getting washed down stream into the gulf. Add the massive methane releases going on around the entire southern part of the state you have a very volitile situation. This will go on for years to come. It is also obvious that there ae two separate crisis going on in assumption parrish. The sink hole and the methane releases. Both are the direct result of OVER DRILLING in a confined space. The substructure of Southern Louisianna looks like a block of swiss cheese. Between all the over drilling and the excessive amount of underground pipelines, the ground is simply collapsing. Future salt dome exploration should be banned as much as possible. The idea of petrochemical and waste storage in natural salt domes and caverns is a severly flawed and has proven to be detrimental to human health and the environment.


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    • 16Penny 16Penny

      Another issue that has been on my mind, sort of related, is why are we leaving all of these chemicals underground in a region that our government has told us they expect to be underwater in the next 100 or so years (Bayou Corne elevation: +7 ft.) I am not trying to get into the global climate changes debate, I am talking specifically about ocean level rising. You cannot argue that it is not rising, because it is. (expected to rise 6.6 ft by 2100)

      http://www.livescience.com/25097-sea-levels-rising-faster-ipcc.html

      We should be figuring out how to relocate any hazardous storage and refineries in low lying areas now while we have the luxury of time. Instead it is all about making a buck, health care and guns. What about surviving and protecting what is left of our natural environment.

      Honestly the residents should seize this opportunity to relocate to higher ground while they have a chance to get paid for it, in my opinion.


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  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    Just how does one become an "expert" in collapsing, toxic, salt domes?


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    • SwimsWithGators

      No Dome expert here. Didn't even know about salt domes until this one popped. Read more than a few wiki pages since then. And with a layman's understanding of basic hydro-geology, I now know more than many! That and $1.60 will get me a cup of coffee.

      The biggest danger to a salt dome is flowing water. Flowing water is how the caverns were made, AFAICT. Water dissolves salt. Until now, somehow, these salt domes have been protected from flowing water. With the cavern, flowing water is now being introduced and since we have never done this on this scale before, it is a science experiment. One big huge possible hole in the earth science experiment.

      Worst case? The mighty Mississippi finds its way to the Bayou.

      In the meantime… pump the other caverns dry and then fill those caverns with something similar to what we took from them. And divert as much water as we can away from the dome. Ya know, restore it to the way it used to be.


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  • amberlight amberlight

    On the one hand, it's encouraging to see that they are expanding the scope of their studies. On the other hand, if they are admitting that they need to deal with much more than Oxy 3, they are probably hiding the true extent of what they DO KNOW of the crisis.

    And still those comments slipped in here & there that indicate that they really DON'T know what is happening under their feet…


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    • FREEDOMROX

      That is absolutely correct, amberlight, but for Gery Hecox to admit such a screw up with the PDK logs was inspiring. They admitted a mistake, or rather, he did.

      What's left unsaid so far is how much of the voids that are filling with 15-40,000 cubic feet of freshwater every 'burp, or 'belch' is communicating with the outside wall of the salt dome in that area.

      This is not over by a long shot, and no one knows all the answers, but I was very surprised at how forthcoming the 'experts' were for once.


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      • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

        I suspect the only reason the experts are so forthcoming is because many have been speculating, observing, questioning, and reporting on this subject here and elsewhere on the net… if it was 2 years ago, very few would know, or care about some mess down in the Bayou…

        We are the media now, you should all be proud! Seek answers, seek understanding, seek accountability!

        We are free to question anything and everything!!! (at least for the time being) :)


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        • FREEDOMROX

          Agreed whole-heartedly, Cat. A big thank you to Enenews as well for carrying one of the most important energy news situations, no matter where it comes from, even if from a swamp.

          A friend of mine made a wonder comment about Louisianians ever made, and I would like to share it with you.

          "Louisiana people don’t know the POWER they hold!

          They supply almost ALL of the energy (and KNOW HOW) to run all of the factories and industry in the WHOLE U.S.A.

          They supply HEAT to the heatless northern states who would be at risk with any gas shut off in winter!

          That is power."

          Flying Cuttle Fish, Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle
          http://lasinkhole.wordpress.com/


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  • FREEDOMROX

    Spellcheck, 'Gary Hecox'


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  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    The outer edge of the sinkhole is getting alarmingly close to the edge of the housing development of Bayou Corne. I sure hope that some of the authoroties in charge of this crisis monitor this website and sinkhole threads on ENENEWS, besides the occasional criticizms of the officials, there are some very good ideas and some very helpful information discussed here regarding this situation. I have a challenge for all readers here to solve, a simple equation regarding the sinkhole. First of all, establish the approximate (close to possible to accurate) diameter of the sinkhole when it first appeared. Next – get the latest most current approximate(again accurate as possible)diameter of the sinkhole. Next – determine the growth rate by measuring the distance from the original outer edge of the sinkhole to the current outer edge of the sinkhole. Next determine the amount of days the sinkhole has existed and you will have the other factor needed to determine the daily growth rate. Now measure the current edge of the sinkhole at the NORTHWEST edge and draw a straight line to the intersection of Hwy 70 and Gumbo Street. This is the remaining distance to the edge of the sinkhole and the housing area in Bayou Corne. Divide the remaining clearance distance by the daily growth rate factor, and you will have a fairly accurate time frame before the sinkhole starts to swallow homes. It will have already consumed several caverns and injection wells on the eastern edge of the sinkhole.


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    • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

      The above formula does not account for any unforeseen circumstances mother nature may throw at it like earthquakes, storms, heavy rains or any of many other possibilities. Add the massive methane releases to the situation. Question to the person reading with the most flairing knowledge and experience. I am concerned with the flairing going on there. With all the methane releases going on all over that area and far beyond(but very substantial at bayou corne)the question of should this flairing be done there at this point? Seems like any open flames, especially the size and intensity of these flairing sites would be asking for trouble at this point. ??????


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      • FREEDOMROX

        TM2020, did you read my article yet? The answers are all contained within. Either that or watch the videos all the way through.


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        • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

          So tell me Rox, since you have it figured out. When, in your opinion is the sinkhole estimated to reach the main subdivision(houses) of bayou corne?


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          • FREEDOMROX

            Hold on TM2020. Not once have I stated that I have it all figured out. But, your question is definitely couched to evoke a response of when, and not if, subsidence will reach the residents subdivision.

            I do not know that it ever will. What worries me most is the eastward subsidence, since that is where the salt dome lays, and the many triggers contained within that is of the most concern presently.

            The biggest threat to the subdivision right now is uncontrolled methane gas releases in their yards, as this is where the highest pressures are known to be at the periphery of the gas zone.

            Many different options were laid out, and I favor the horizontal drilling with the wells outside of the community to having them all over the subdivision, and Mr. Hecox admitted it was a simple operation, yet very costly.

            This will be the determining factor for Texas Brine and OXy Chem. but shouldn't be for the residents. Hang the cost, but I do see an uphill battle to have these four larger HZ wells drilled, rather than 25 cheaper ones, to where they can't even mow their yards for fear of hitting a gas line. Unacceptable!

            Subsidence rates in shale are far lower in risk, than it is in the lighter salts, and mainly the shales are what have been most affected. Yes, although an accidental oil field play, and other such considerations, the main problem now is to vent the gas under the homes, or you will see subsidence, but from soil failures due to gas, and not the sinkhole


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            • FREEDOMROX

              (cont). Actually I fear major damages now, from venting the gases, since TB and the whole crew has waited so long to vent under the community.

              Wasn't it you that stated that subsidence was causing all the structural damage and concrete cracks?

              Well, did it ever occur to you that the same damages could just as easily have been caused by land expansion due to the gas build up under the whole community without a venting plan? Would not expansion cause the same damages?

              If so, then what will happen when the gases are relieved and the ground settles and not just back to normal levels, but possibly even lower levels? What kind of damage can we expect then?

              So many issues to be dealt with, but unfortunately, they must be dealt with. Grand Bayou residents are freaked out of their minds as gas levels rise in their direction, and even a new bubbling spot on the Crosstex properties has been found, and although Dow keeps reporting that no gas has been detected on their property, then we find out they don't even have the proper tools to detect the methane gases in their water wells, so no PDK readings can be trusted.

              Back to square one. Do not pass 'Go', and do not collect two hundred dollars.

              No 'Get out of jail Free' card here.


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            • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

              Rox – we are miscommunicating here. My question is simple. There is an existing rate of travel, growth, expansion – in other words the sinkhole growth rate. It has never stopped growing since its inception. Based on the existing growth rate there has to be a calculated arrival time to these homes. So at the current rate of growth, when would the sinkhole be expected (estimated ofcourse) to reach the subdivision of homes? I understand if you prefer not to give an answer. Its something that needs to be addressed for the property owners and residents advance warning.


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              • FREEDOMROX

                Not at all. Very doubtful that the sinkhole itself will ever reach the homes. There is only 44 ft. left of the failed cavern to fill. Although this leaves a void space of over 2 million cubic feet, we know they are mainly being replaced by fluids. We can see the fluidic flow rates exhanging between each other on the geophones. I truy wish they had never taken out the USGS helicorders, because they were providing a real time sounding, and proves there is fluid exchanges happening between voids.

                I have written about this before on numerous websites. Fluids can reach as much of an equilibrium in concert with the rock strata it inhabits. The shale rock strata will sooner or later reach equlibrium as well. The only question has been when? That we don't truly know. Dr Pettit speculates it will all stop when the cavern fills, but I think that is very simplistic, and requires more hope than it does science, yet…at the same time…it is not a uncontrolled reaction yet. Stop underestimating mother earth and her powers of healing.

                Also, do not discount her rage, if a truly large seismic event does occur, and that is possible. This part of the delta is highly unstable and would only require a 4 magnitude or higher to change all of the landscape. TB, OXY, and LDNR have tampered with the fundamental forces of the Universe, so none of us can predict the ultimate outcome.

                Also, you never answered my question? Is it possible expansion can cause the same damages?


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                • FREEDOMROX

                  Sorry, 464 ft. left of cavern fill.

                  There is no growth rate that is cyclical. This has all along been determined by rapid expansions, and no known growth rates. My so far accurate predictions have only been attributed to the data from the seismos, and the daily reports of pressure and gas extraction.

                  Without these, I would be able to predict nothing…

                  There isn't a growth rate chart available that can explain an existing trend of subsidence. Because it is not consistent at all.


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                  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

                    You are still missing my point ROX! It definately has a growth rate – consistant or not. You add up all the growths to date. Compare the total growth to the size it was when it started. Then divide that growth amount by the number of days it has been since it started , and you have an AVERAGED OUT daily growth rate. It has not stopped growing. We all hope it does, but until it does you must track the growth until and if it stops growing. Are you suggesting that the encroachment rate to the residential area is not worth monotoring? Even with the cavern walls terminating before the homes, the land subseidence could very easily continue for a distance undetermined. My formula simply gives you an average daily growth rate while it is still growing. When it stops, so does the formula. Simple. If it doesn't, then the residents would have a month or so to get out as much as they can. It's too darn close not to have this information at hand. Personally I see it as a valuable statistic for all concerned.


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                    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

                      @ timemachine 2020–Thanks for the equation concerning average daily growth.
                      I assume generally instability all around and the Bayou Corne community has been endangered for awhile.

                      The amount of disturbance underground..when the sinkhole belches..increases the amount, size and randomness of the disturbance.

                      I'd move along…


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                    • rainbeaudais rainbeaudais

                      Interesting conversation…

                      TM2020…..are you talking about the qactual sinkhole reaching the community, or subsidence? You're probably going to say they are one and the same. Maybe not. My confusion is because of how you say we may have a month to gather what we can and get out.

                      You truly sound like you are talking the sinkhole itself, when you said earlier that the community will be "swallowed", and now these recent statements.

                      As far as the wells being placed throughout the subdivision, I have to think that most people in that room didn't 'get' what Hecox was saying, due to the mostly nonreaction except by a couple people questioning it.

                      I also think Hecox was being very sly when he used the word community, and not subdivision. They are going up everywhere throughout the community already. Talk of placing them throughout the 'subdivision' was new, and he just kind of slid that in there after all these (us) folks had been hammered for an hour an a half of all that technical crap.

                      The meetings are too far apart and by the time they have them, we are bombarded overwhelmed with all this techy stuff that we don't even realize, or catch what they are really saying, to react or question it then and there.

                      It's a must to go back and watch the videos to really hear what they are saying, but I know most don't.


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                    • FREEDOMROX

                      TM2020. Sorry for the late reply. I literally passed out last night.

                      Your formula is fine. It works perfectly as a statistical model for past growth rates, but cannot be used to model future growth rates. If the last six months have taught us anything, then it is that this situation is entirely unpredictable, except from a localized standpoint, or in the very short term.

                      The 18 acre area of subsidence around the sinkhole is not even to Hwy. 70 yet, and shows some linieal subsidence but to the south and west towards the leaking water well and drill site, (that was evidently there for 15 years pumping oil).

                      But again, the subsidence that is threatening the subdivision is coming from the aquifer. Right now it is raising the subdivision up with massive amounts of pressurized methane gas in the aquifer. Once bled off, then it will be subsidence, only indirectly linked to the actual sinkhole. This goes to why there has been no explosion yet. The aquifer gravels and sands are breaking up the methane 'burps' as they attempt to reach the surface, and re-directing the methane in the aquifer, so that nominal amounts actually break the surface of the 'stinkhole'.

                      Again, the main danger to the actual homes is the gas pressure under there feet and the venting in their yards. Once relieved, then subsidence and damage is a given.

                      I hope this explains what you are looking for. It is a fine formula, it is only usable for past progression.


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  • gottagetoffthegrid

    Does anyone know if they are flying LiDar?
    You can measure sub-inch ground movments using sequential flyovers.
    It can see thru trees and brush, but I don't think it sees thru water.

    I would expect the subsidence to extend at least a radius equal to the depth of the cavern.


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  • FREEDOMROX

    "Does anyone know if they are flying LiDar?"

    Not to my knowledge. I had hoped the C-130J Brazilian plane observed there might have been for the purposes of backscatter, and other scientific experiments, yet no more over-flights have been reported, which is disappointing in the extreme.

    So much data could be obtained from over-flights.

    "We have the technology." Lead off to Six Million Dollar Man
    (1974)


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    • gottagetoffthegrid

      That is very disappointing. They could scan 4 sq miles in an hour and process the data by noon the next day.
      The planes we hire are typically 2 engine Pipers–nothing special. It's the cheapest way to get topo for a large area.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Instability in 7..out of 53.. as I recall the number being.
    It's usually better to expand the concern.. past the official response.


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  • irhologram

    Again. May i suggest we pay attention to this elephant in the room all heavyweights here seem to purposely avoid seeing? I've forgotten who posted a week ago ….that while traveling to a San Antonio conference, he met a man who shared a cell phone picture of his bubbling back yard…and WHERE was his backyard? What did the post say?….40 miles away for the sinkhole. We were told way back in Oct (maybe late Sept) that the bubbling (which NOW looks more like a gushing water main break) stretched at least 40 miles up to Lake Peigneur. (News we've all had right here on this site…) Not sure which direction this man's cell phone pix showed, whether near the lake or somewhere else) ….Is this elephant methane release which is GUSHING currently…not just at the sinkhole area (an idea empirically supported by massive seismic activity all along Bella Rose monitors) but MUST necessarily involve not only this dome and these caverns…but OTHERS. Might these little "admissions" of extent of the catastrophe be keeping just ahead of the next stage, while parsing words? The methane would naturally be followed by oil. I suppose gushing oil…but I think the WORST problem in this delema is poisonous gas…methane, Hydrogen sulfide, et all, naturally occurring…which soon will be bringing up cavern-stored poisens, as well… Or maybe I should make that plural…elephants in many rooms…caverns, other domes. Why is this so hard to see?


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    It's not so much the visuals here..it's what the poster chose to say.

    ASSUMPTION PARISH (2)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEVC7IP7emQ


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  • 16Penny 16Penny

    Rainbeaudais, I am wondering if the new attention to venting the gas from below the community is due to you. Before you get going, I am serious. I think You exposed the gas venting we all knew was going on through the ground undetected because they don't "bubble". I think your neighbors owe you a little extra gumbo in your bowl for illustrating how close and how real the methane problem is.

    Your expose video cut out the claim / counterclaim process and they went straight to "tell em we are looking at alternatives to find the best way." That alone saved months of investigation and posturing.


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    • FREEDOMROX

      Although she cares nothing for me, I have to agree 16 Penny. My disregarding the 'bubbling' videos was a mistake. My bad. I took it for granted everyone there knew that gas was coming up under their feet and houses, even without the presence of water, as it had been explained so many times before.

      BUT! I do think it took Rain's and others Vids for them to actually and finally address the situation. I guess it is true, one picture (Vid), is worth a thousand words. For that I apologize.

      That being said, the resident's were very inquisitive about the new gas wells going into the subdivision, and were pretty vocal about it. To the point that Mr. Hecox was struck speechless twice. Several voiced they did not want them in their front or backyards, and if they affected an area 500ft. square, then put them at the land boundries.

      Finally one resident, who was very bright, suggested the usage of Four wells out in the swamps and using a steerable bore drill to alleviate the pressures without all the mini wells and piping. It is a non-invasive solution. It is one that Oxy and TB will not want to pay for, but the issue can be forced if no one signs the releases and allows all the tiny wells to go in.

      If they calmly state their case and even in writing, then I would be happy to write one up for the residents, explaining that the non-invasive method is best. Horizontal relief wells ar available, but they won't be, if you sign away your rights and their liability.


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    • FREEDOMROX

      It's too late markww. That happened when the floods came in, and is still happening now. Look over any of the threads in the past month, and I have been screaming my head off about it, as Haize ahs as well. DHH lady hung up on me when I called a while back, seeing if they were doing any testing on the waters and it's possible communications to Lake Verret and below.

      This is a National disaster….


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  • markww markww

    I think if you look at the video and then look at how it is draining towards the gulf and bayous this might let everyone know its bad and going to get worse. TIMEMACHINE watch the bayous that drain about half way to you in the video

    Markww


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  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Crosstex Energy Announces Public Offering of Common Units Jan 08/2013

    Crosstex Energy, L.P. (NASDAQ: XTEX) (the Partnership) today announced the
    commencement of an underwritten public offering of 7,500,000 common units
    representing limited partner interests of the Partnership. The Partnership will
    also grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,125,000
    additional common units. Wells Fargo Securities, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup,
    Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets will act as joint book-running managers
    for the public offering.

    Concurrent with the public offering, the Partnership intends to offer 2,700,000
    common units to certain funds affiliated with Magnetar Capital in a privately
    negotiated transaction.

    The Partnership intends to use the net proceeds from these issuances, including
    any net proceeds from the underwriters` exercise of their option pursuant to the
    public offering, for capital expenditures for currently identified projects,
    including the Cajun-Sibon natural gas liquids pipeline expansion, and for
    general partnership purposes.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/08/tx-crosstex-energy-idUSnBw6Jv3Sra+124+BSW20130108


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    • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

      ~…time to buy in?!? /sarc

      …so far any suspected liability on Crosstex's part? Although they moved the butane rather than have to send it to market…they must have lost a few pennies doing sooo…hmm maybe someone should watch where the money goes..should they be held liable for some of the ongoing disaster. ..or moving the butane causes any future issues…thinking too that Texas Brine will try to share the pain…rather than take full responsibility..


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      • FREEDOMROX

        No, none on Crosstex's part, but all they have been doing is moving inventory ftom Cavern 2 to Cavern 1 and then on to market. They haven't lost a dime, since they never really followed the original Directive to begin with.
        They've just waited until the market for winter came along and then sent straight from CR 2 straight to customer. This is shown in all their reports since Aug. 20th, 2012. They pull a little over into CR 1 every so often to make it look good.


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        • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

          Ahh I see, thanks…claims were that it could take a year to move that much butane…


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          • FREEDOMROX

            Nope, cover story, they lied. It takes three months for two full caverns to be emptied. Neither was completely full. It has been a give and take, and then off to the customer when demand set in.

            Now is the only time they may begin to hurt, since reserves in both caverns are low. Not to worry though, any new infusions are fully allowed into CR #1, unless conditions change.

            They pulled a fast one, and maximizes profits, during a difficult two quarters, and their shareholders are thrilled!


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