For background see this article from August.
As of September 26, and not counting the recent cave in, the sinkhole located in Assumption Parish, Louisiana had grown to 800 feet across at it narrowest point and over 900 feet across at its widest.
While the sinkhole’s continued growth is certainly bad news for Louisiana citizens, at least authorities have made some progress in their attempts to understand the causes and danger surrounding it.
A recent report, published by LEAN, shed light on probable sources for the sinkhole’s radiation and another potential hazard.
State of Louisiana data shows that hydrocarbons in the sink hole sludge are dangerously elevated, while radiation levels exceeded background by only a small amount. Based on this limited testing, this sinkhole sludge is a hazard because of the presence of the diesel fuel, which can contaminate air and groundwater. Hydrocarbon levels may also be in the flammable range.
Radiation is still a concern. The State of Louisiana found much higher levels of radiation in deeper parts of the sink hole than the place where we received our surface sample. There is enough radiation present to show that natural underground radioactive material has been concentrated in the sink hole. Even though the diesel hydrocarbons are currently the greater hazard, radiation testing should continue.
Several state and federal agencies are studying the sinkhole to determine how large it might grow; the old prediction of 1,500 square feet appears to be out. Mean while the sinkhole continues to grow and swallow up not only large chunks of land but the roads the agencies are using to study the sinkhole.
Image is a screenshot courtesy assumptionla on youtube