2012 August 13, Monday
Bayou Corne, LA
By now it's been all over the news and blogs, and the reports cover all extremes. The beginning of the Apocalypse to some, citing 1.5 million barrels of butane present in the apparently collapsing salt domes under this rural area of southwestern Louisiana. A small event involving only the loss of a few trees to others. After flying over this sinkhole, and smelling the foul air for just 15 minutes, we can testify that it's definitely not the minor concern of a few trees lost. We'll restrict ourselves here to providing you with photos and videos from today, but refer you to the web where you'll find photos from two, five, and more days ago -- and see for yourself how fast the trees are sinking and disappearing, and how much larger the hole is becoming!
The maps showing our flight today are overlaid on Google Earth satellite photos, in which you'll see plenty of trees where today we saw a swampy lagoon filled with orange boom and air boats and workers wearing respirators. Here are photos and video of the sinkhole and the surrounding community. Note the two large storage tanks just to the east of the sinkhole, with large printed name on their side: "Responsible Care"! No end to the irony here sometimes...
On these Google Earth maps of our flight, the point marked "BAYO1" was the place matching coordinates we were originally given; we saw nothing there. But east of that, near a GPS point we marked as "0383" was where we found the sinkhole. The coordinates of the sinkhole are approximately: N30° 00.7' W091° 09'.
Here are our photos and videos of the sinkhole and the surrounding community. Many thanks to Cherri Foytlin and Drew Landry for coming with us, and to Brayton Matthews of Flightline First at New Orleans' Lakefront Airport for joining us and taking video and Drew for providing some additional great still photos!