For the current issue of the magazine (subscribe!) I wrote about the Bayou Corne sinkhole, a swampy, reeking, 24-acre hole in the earth that opened up near the site of an abandoned salt cavern in rural Assumption Parish, Louisiana. After the sinkhole first appeared (at about 1/24th of its current size) last August, Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered the 350 residents of Bayou Corne to evacuate. On August 2, Louisiana sued Texas Brine, the company that mined the salt cavern that experts have identified as the trigger for the sinkhole. Every few weeks the sinkhole burps—this is really the term the geologists use—and somewhere between 20 and 100 barrels of sweet crude bubble up to the surface. Really, it’s best explained in the piece.
I saw a lot of strange things in Louisiana, but on Wednesday, Assumption Parish emergency response office, which continuously monitors the sinkhole for burps and seismic activity, released perhaps the strangest video I’ve seen yet. It’s an entire grove of trees simply being swallowed up by the sinkhole—something that was known to happen but no one had managed to capture clearly on camera.