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    Sinkhole de Mayo - watch out before you slide in

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/09/us...4HfK8tuiexlDDA

    Sinkhole and Town: Now You See It ...


    By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
    Published: May 9, 2008
    DAISETTA, Tex. — A huge and ravenous sinkhole that threatened to swallow this little East Texas oil town gobbled more crumbling earth Thursday but spared, at least for now, homes, the high school and the main road, Farm to Market 770.
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    James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press
    A huge sinkhole, already one of the largest on record, near Daisetta, Tex., on Wednesday.

    The New York Times
    The little East Texas oil town of Daisetta was threatened.



    “It’s unreal — the earth just wallered up,” said Lynn Wells, the mayor and fire chief, who monitored emergency efforts, speeding back and forth on his red Harley-Davidson.
    Since the rim of an underground salt dome collapsed and the ground cracked and gave way abruptly Wednesday morning, the hole — already one of the largest on record, geologists here said — has grown to about 600 feet by 525 feet and 150 feet deep, said Cpl. Hugh Bishop of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
    Tom Branch, coordinator of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management, has been in the job only two weeks and was expecting something different from oil country.
    “I’m used to things blowing up, not falling in,” Mr. Branch said.
    Two trucks have already tumbled into the saltwater muck, along with two grain tanks, utility poles and pine trees. A work shed of the DeLoach Oil and Gas Well Vacuum Service adjacent to the pit hung precariously over the rim, likely to topple in next.
    “I’ve got some lakefront lots to sell here,” said a neighbor, Harold McCann, 82, as he sat on his property staring out at what had been, barely 24 hours ago, a wooded field.
    Officials expressed cautious optimism Thursday that the collapse had stabilized. “It appears to be slowing down, the hole does,” Corporal Bishop said.
    But he said that “there are still chunks falling in” and that the authorities were prepared to evacuate Daisetta’s 1,034 residents if the hole suddenly grew.
    Carl E. Norman, a consulting geologist and professor emeritus at the University of Houston, did not offer residents much comfort when he said at a news briefing here, “This is not the largest sinkhole in the world.” But Dr. Norman added: “For a salt dome, this is a very large one. This is exceptionally large.”
    He said, “This may become stable any day, or it could collapse in six months.” And, he warned, “It could double in size.”
    There were not many options, Dr. Norman said, adding, “Stopping it is a very difficult thing to do.”
    The entire subterranean salt dome might be as much as six miles in diameter, he said.
    The collapse might have been entirely natural, he said, or hastened by injections of saltwater wastes by oil companies under disposal permits from the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil drilling.
    According to the United States Geological Survey, sinkholes are common where the underlining rock is limestone, carbonate or salt beds that can be dissolved by circulating water that hollows out caverns. The land above stays intact for a while, and then can suddenly collapse.
    In 1973, a sinkhole that became known as the December Giant opened up near Montevallo, Ala. At 520 feet by 125 feet and 60 feet deep, it was then called the largest collapse in the country in many years. In the 1980s, smaller sinkholes opened up in and around Daisetta, about 50 miles east-northeast of Houston and named for two early residents, Daisy Barrett and Etta White.
    But nothing like the current collapse, which residents have begun calling “the Sinkhole de Mayo,” had ever happened here.
    The first warnings came Wednesday morning when employees of the DeLoach company saw cracks in the earth and the roadway started “warping down,” Corporal Bishop said.
    Ricky and Dicky Johnson, brothers who live near Mr. McCann close to the pit, said they felt it coming on about 10 a.m. “The ground got to shaking,” said Dicky Johnson, over the din of news helicopters hovering over the site.
    Quickly, the hole grew to 20 feet across. Then things started falling in.


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    Re: Sinkhole de Mayo - watch out before you slide in

    News Video On Demand | KHOU.com | News for Houston, Texas

    Here is a vid of it. That stuff is freaky.



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    Re: Sinkhole de Mayo - watch out before you slide in

    I figure one day that's what's going to happen to the middle east. One big earthquake and all that sand is going to start sliding into where all that oil has been pumped from.
    Would make a great disaster film, Of course it would most likely mess up the earth's mass, throw our orbit all out of whack and send us flying off into the cold outer reaches of space.



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    Re: Sinkhole de Mayo - watch out before you slide in

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclones_R_GR8 View Post
    I figure one day that's what's going to happen to the middle east. One big earthquake and all that sand is going to start sliding into where all that oil has been pumped from.
    Would make a great disaster film, Of course it would most likely mess up the earth's mass, throw our orbit all out of whack and send us flying off into the cold outer reaches of space.
    That's actually not too far fetched. I've read several things that say how man is messing with the mass by shifting around water (via dams, etc.), removing things by mining, etc.


    While on live TV, Ford used a vulgar term to describe a private part of the female anatomy, adding that he was “happily married” and “got more than enough to eat at home.”

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