Now the size of five football fields, the Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish is a historic, unprecedented disaster that has scientists from across the globe puzzled on how to proceed.

According to a report from Examiner.com, Shaw Environmental Geologist Dr. Gary Hecox broke the grim sinkhole news this week during a briefing with affected residents, many of whom have been under evacuation orders since the massive sinkhole was discovered Aug. 3.

The sinkhole, according to state officials, stems from a failed salt cavern located more than 5,000 feet underground and leased by Texas Brine Co. for oil and natural gas storage.

Hecox says the outer edge of the salt dome is gone, or “fracked out,” and the destination of the gas that’s venting from the sinkhole is still unknown.

“In the history of this type of event this is very unique,” Hecox told residents during his presentation. “There is no cookbook. There’s not even any decent case studies that tell people how to proceed when you’ve had a cavern collapse at 5,000 feet below ground, you’ve had a frack out to the surface in the form of a sinkhole, and you’ve got natural gas and crude oil coming in and bubbling all over ... We’ve talked to people all over the world. This is a unique situation. Nobody’s ever dealt with something like this.”

State and parish officials say the size of the sinkhole will likely expand as scientists and Texas Brine Co. work to resolve the massive sinkhole.

Read more here, here and here.

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