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La. sinkhole's cause being probed

Aug. 15, 2012 at 2:27 PM

BAYOU CORNE, La., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Scientists in Louisiana said they are trying to identify the cause of a massive sinkhole that led to a mandatory evacuation order for more than 300 people.

State emergency managers said scientists are looking into whether the sinkhole in the Assumption Parish swamp resulted from the collapse of a plugged salt mine underground near the site of the incident and the company that operated the mine has agreed to drill a relief well to ease the pressure, WWL-TV, New Orleans, reported Wednesday.

Bayou Corne resident Dennis Landry, who also works on a boat in the swamp, said he and his neighbors started feeling tremors near the end of May and the swamp started to swallow itself around Aug. 3.

"The collapse is about the size of a football field, maybe a little bit bigger," Landry said, "It remains to be seen if that gas and the gas that could be found near the cavern are related. Everybody's thinking right now, it has to be."

The state Department of Environmental Quality said it is monitoring the air in the area to ensure no dangerous gasses are escaping.

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