Watch This Sinkhole Swallow a Chunk of Louisiana Bayou Whole | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Watch This Sinkhole Swallow a Chunk of Louisiana Bayou Whole

The hole has been name the Bayou Corne Sinkhole, and has already forced the evacuation of 300 nearby residents, lest they also be swallowed into the swamp

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Image: NNSANews

Assumption Parish, a parish in Southern Louisiana, is being swallowed whole. The residents there have known this for a while—Smart News covered their plight in January. But now, a new, incredible video shows just how scary that sinkhole is. Watch, as an entire swatch of bayou is swallowed in a matter of seconds:

According to The Advocate, the sinkhole has been growing for about a year and is 25 acres across—17 acres larger than it was in January. Scientists have reportedly told locals that the sinkhole will continue to grow for years, as it reaches its final shape and size. The sinkhole was probably caused by extensive mining in the area, according to Mike Ludwig from Truthout:

As the weeks went by, officials determined the unstable salt cavern was to blame for the mysterious tremors and bubbling bayous. Texas Brine publically claimed the failure of the cavern was caused by seismic activity and refused to take responsibility for the sinkhole, but the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has since determined that the collapsing cavern caused the tremors felt in the neighborhood, not the other way around.

According to Hecox and the USGS, the collapsing cavern shifted and weakened underground rock formations, causing the earthquakes and allowing natural gas and oil to migrate upward and contaminate the local groundwater aquifer. Gas continues to force its way up, and now a layer of gas sits on top of the aquifer and leaches through the ground into the bayous, causing the water to bubble up in several spots. Gas moves much faster through water than oil, which explains why the bubbles have not been accompanied by a familiar sheen.

The hole has been name the Bayou Corne Sinkhole and has already forced the evacuation of 300 nearby residents, lest they be swallowed into the swamp as well.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Giant Sinkhole Is Swallowing Up a Louisiana Bayou Community

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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