Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods— people prepare for a lot of different disasters. But very few people have the kind of foresight it takes to prepare for a 600 foot sinkhole opening up and beginning to emit radiation.
The sinkhole was discovered August 3 after several months of natural gas bubbles rising to the surface from an area outside Assumption Parish in Southern Louisiana. The sinkhole occurred in an area largely covered by bayous.
While the levels of radiation that have been detected are not considered dangerous, officials and locals are concerned because, after 15 samples were taken from the area, no naturally occurring radioactive materials were found.
At the time this article was published the source of the radiation had yet to be determined.
Because of a large deposit of natural gas in a cavern beneath the sinkhole officials are concerned there may be explosions as the sinkhole grows.
Fortunately the sinkhole didn’t open in a heavily populated area. About 150 people have been ordered to leave their homes as a precautionary measure. Some people have chosen to ignore that order and gone as far as to allege a government cover up surrounding the incident.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the sinkhole is growing. When it was discovered, the sinkhole was less than 300 feet wide. By August 14 it was 320 feet. By August 16 in was over 562 feet.
This is expansion is occurring fast enough that it nearly drowned two cleanup workers who were in a boat tied to tree when the tree was pulled down into the hole quickly enough the that workers narrowly escaped as the boat was taken under.
According to the Louisiana Governor’s office of Emergency Preparedness scientists who examined the sinkhole have said that it could grow as large as 1400-ft wide.