2014 April 02, Wednesday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana
We have made several flyovers of Bayou Corne in 2014, but we have not been able to public extensively this year. This article, though brief, will be the first of many this year, as we hope to be able to spend time again helping our friends monitor marine life, ecosystem and habitat recovery in the wetlands of this beautiful area, and to help human habitat and humans as well. The sinkhole in Bayou Corne, Louisiana, which we first documented in August of 2012, is one of those tragedies that no "Restore Act" is addressing, or perhaps can address. Yesterday, a little more of what once seemed to be solid ground disappeared, taking with it more trees, and inching ever closer to storage tanks and other infrastructure.
Here are some highlights of the photos we took on a very quick flight this afternoon. You'll see many changes from what it looked like on our earlier flyovers (see them all under "Special Articles" in the right-hand margin of any page of the OnWingsOfCare.org website). Take a good look at the southeast corner, the farthest corner from the community. Also, check out all of the dredging and other work going on in the bayous south of the sinkhole.
Below these photos we'll post a link to today's video, and below that a gallery of additional photos. We are so sorry for this community, and we wonder whether requirements for improved safety standards can ever guarantee that humans won't exercise poor judgment again, and again. We really need to think about how short-sighted we have been, if there is any hope of our protecting this beautiful home of ours for future generations.
2013 November 24, Sunday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana
Two months since our last flyover of the Bayou Corne sinkhole, and our 14th "look from above" at this unfolding tragedy since August of 2012. Photos and video are provided below, with some comments reflecting on what we have seen over these past 16 months here. We also bring you some interesting photos of sights between here and New Orleans, and along the Mississippi River and the famous "Cancer Alley." Here are a few notable photos from today, with video and many more photos below:
2013 September 26, Thursday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana
Our 13th flyover of the Bayou Corne sinkhole since August 13, 2012, now 13 months after the first photos we brought to the public eye. We didn't see as much rainbow sheen on the surface of the sinkhole today, and it doesn't look any larger than it did a month ago. Wish we could think of something else non-negative to say about this tragic situation. But the proximity of the bayous and the community to the northwest that has been destroyed make that impossible.
Here are a few photos from today, followed by a set of photos that show a progression starting from August of 2013 through late July of this year. Then we have a video from today, and a gallery of additional photos from today.
Photos and videos from all of our previous flights can all be found in the right-hand margin of any page of this website, under "Special Articles", or under the main menu item "Preservation" and under that "Humanitarian."
As always, high-resolution versions of our photos are available for uses that benefit the public. Just contact us for permission to use them, and we'll be happy to share them with you. Please credit OnWingsOfCare.org for your uses, and remember that we are an all-volunteer organization and operate solely with the help of your donations!
2013 July 28, Sunday
Bayou Corne "sinkhole", Louisiana
In less than one week it will be one year since the residents of Bayou Corne, Louisiana were told to leave their homes and community because of unknown danger from explosive gases in a sinkhole formed when the wall of a nearby salt dome collapsed barely a mile away from the community. We first flew over this small sinkhole in August of 2012, when its area was just a little over one acre, and trees were just beginning to give way and disappear into the depths. Now, one year later, that sinkhole spans about 24 acres and as nearly as deep as four football fields end-to-end. What residents thought might be a 30-day precautionary evacuation has turned out to be the end of their community, the end of their retirement plans, the end of their lives as they knew them.
Relief wells were drilled nearby before autumn set in last year, and sensors were placed inside the cavern to monitor gas pressure and the integrity of the cavern walls. Natural gas is trapped in wet sand beneath the sinkhole, under a layer of clay. There are also caverns nearby (many tens of them are in this area) that have been used to store butane -- a gas that is highly flammable in its vaporform. As long as the gas pressure remains low enough it, the risk of explosion remains manageably low. But leakage of the gas, which helps keep that pressure low, has also meant that gas is appearing in the local aquifers and bayous, bringing the hazards of pollution and risks of possible explosion ever closer to the homes and community of Bayou Corne. Seismic sensors have been put in place, and almost weekly there are alerts of substantial seismic activity, which could signal further collapse and consequent build-up of gas pressure.
The situation is tense and uncertain in Bayou Corne. Many citizen volunteers have been present for months to try to help residents in any way they can. Ultimately though, Texas Brine, the owners of the well here -- which was actually plugged and sealed with cement in the summer of 2011, now two years ago -- will have to answer for the economic and environmental damage caused by the failed cavern that caused this sinkhole. And we all need to demand that appropriate regulations be adopted to enforce safety standards that will minimize the risk of damages like this happening again. Just as building codes are written to ensure lasting safety of structures and their surroundings, drilling codes must be written and adhered to, in order to ensure that activities do not compromise the short- or long-term health or safety of the environment.
Here are two photos from today's flight. Below them are two photos from our flyover on August 13, 2012, almost one year ago. A full-length video of today's flyover is provided below.