Last June, in a patch of bayou near Assumption, Louisiana the ground began to bubble and collapse. In the months that followed, the sinkhole would grow larger than anyone could have predicted, pulling down nearly 25 acres of trees and vegetation into its murky depths and forcing hundreds of nearby residents to evacuate.
Now, over a year later, the massive sinkhole shows no signs of slowing.
The Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness released footage yesterday that demonstrates what a powerful force the sinkhole really is, not merely reshaping the landscape, but literally swallowing anything in its wake.
In a matter of seconds, a large multi-stocked tree is pulled down into the growing swamp, disappearing beneath the churning water and mud.
While some sinkholes are naturally forming, this particularly devastating occurrence has been attributed to human activity. Department of Natural Resources Secretary Stephen Chustz says that the widening collapse is the result of salt-mining company, Texas Brine, destabilizing the ground there.
“The sinkhole has continued to grow over time as we’ve expected," Chustz explains.
"This growth is due to surface water, soil and broken rock that has moved down to fill the space created by the Texas Brine cavern operation that failed in August 2012. This movement is something we expect as the sinkhole shifts out into the predicted area. The failed cavern operation also created a pathway for underground oil and natural gas to rise to the surface."