Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Lake Peigneur Disaster

I'm sure that working in a salt mine sucks, as judging from the common metaphor associated with work: "Back to the salt mines."

However, there was an occasion in which a salt mine itself sucked: this was the Lake Peigneur disaster of November 20, 1980.  The setting: Iberia Parish, southwest of New Iberia, in southwest Louisiana.

A Texaco oil rig was digging with a 14 inch drill when it accidentally broke into a salt mine of the Diamond Crystal Salt Company..  As a result, the fresh water of the lake coursed down the hole, filling the enormous salt mine.  Fortunately, no human lives were lost; the miners had an effective evacuation plan and were able to leave safely while the rig crew was able to get off before the rig got sucked into the maelstrom.

Previously, the water from the small lake flowed into Vermilion Bay;  however, the stream connecting the two temporarily flowed in reverse, resulting in salt water flowing into the lake.  This in turn temporarily produced the largest waterfall in the state of Louisiana.  Also, the water that coursed down the hole into the salt mine tended to flow outward through the ventilation shafts, producing unLouisiana-like geysers for a time.  Here's a video of the event.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Peigneur







9 comments:

MarkD60 said...

Now that is really fascinating. I wouldn't think that the mine could hold that much water, but like the video says, the sale dissolves...

TexWisGirl said...

i can imagine the salt in the lake was devastating for a lot of wildlife!

Bilbo said...

I misread the subject as "The Lake Peignoir Disaster," and had visions of a wardrobe malfunction of truly epic proportions. Darn it.

Duckbutt said...

I remember this event. It was like someone pulled out the cork.

Mike said...

Like Duck I too remember this. Thanks for the time trip.

Linda Kay said...

okay, so water and oil are bad enough, but adding salt to the mix really screwed things up? What an awful disaster for a number of reasons. Thanks for sharing this. I don't remember it at all.

beach lad said...

i found that amazing.

unbelievable that no one was killed - and more evidence of the human race's ability to fuck things up on a massive scale.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Mark, that was one hell of a salt mine. The lake averaged 10 feet deep/

TexWisGirl and Linda Kay, it was an ecological catastrophe.

Bilbo, that would get a lot of attention too.

beach lad, this one took considerable effort.

Cloudia said...

how amazing!



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