Sinkhole swallows tree in a dramatic video

Sinkhole swallows tree: A Louisiana sinkhole more than a year old snaps up more swampland, making for eerie footage. 

Gerald Herbert/AP
A Louisiana sinkhole that has already turned 350 residents out of their homes is growing bigger still, swallowing up 25 trees on Wednesday night.

A massive sinkhole in Louisiana tugged a fresh meal of swamp trees into its depths on Wednesday night, according to local media.

In a video from the Assumption Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, the Bayou Corne’s tall trees slip into a sinkhole hidden beneath metallic-sheened swamp water, like spaghetti noodles surrendering to a pot of boiling water. Afterward, the tree gone and the water jiggling to still, the video almost begs for a voice-over – something like: “You saw nothing. Nothing happened here.”

The sinkhole first bubbled and trembled last June, and then about two months later caved in, swallowing about 24 acres of land. Ever since, the giant swamp thing has occasionally sighed and heaved, pulling down more brush and trees and dirt. The latest video, though, in which 25 trees bid their adieu to sunlight, is the first footage of its machinations.

Sinkholes form when underground acidic water dissolves limestone until a cave is formed. The acid keeps eating away at the rock until the weight of the overlying landscape collapses the cave roof. On the surface, all looks well and calm until that cataclysmic point of no return is reached. Then the ground plummets downward, like a monster plunging into the foreground and breaking the dramatic silence of a horror film.

Earlier this month, the state of Louisiana and Assumption Parish’s Police announced plans to sue Texas Brine Co., a Houston-based salt-mining company, blaming the sinkhole on the structural failure of Texas Brine’s salt cavern there. Since Aug. 17 of last year, Texas Brine has been paying some 350 residents evacuated from the affected region about $875 per week, according to documents. Texas Brine has also been organizing buyouts for residents not suing it, and locals have found themselves in the difficult spot of deciding whether to turn their homes over to the sinkhole's hunger or to hold out hope that the ground – and their homes – will be stabilized.

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