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Thread: Hey Big!

  1. #1

    Default Hey Big!

    Remember that discussion we had a few years ago about oil production and what the price of taking all that oil out of the earth was?


    DAISETTA, Texas (AP) -- Geologists said a 260-foot-deep sinkhole that grew to the length of three football fields over just two days seemed to be slowing down Thursday, but it could take months before it's clear whether surrounding areas are stable.

    The 900-foot-long sinkhole, with crumbling dirt around its edges resembling sharp teeth, has swallowed oil tanks and barrels, tires, telephone poles and several vehicles in Daisetta, a once-booming oil town of about 1,000 residents about 60 miles northeast of Houston, Texas.

    Residents feared the appetite of the sinkhole, which began as a 20-foot hole in the ground on Wednesday, would continue unabated Thursday and threaten nearby homes. But by Thursday afternoon officials and geologists allayed those concerns.

    "We're not sure it has completely stopped. We're confident it has slowed down," said Tom Branch, coordinator of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management. "We feel a whole lot better today."

    A day earlier, Branch, other officials and residents had watched as large chunks of earth, as well as the oil field equipment, trees and vehicles tumbled into the crater. The mixture of oil and mud at the bottom of the sinkhole made it look like a tar pit.

    Carl Norman, a geologist working with officials, said he planned to measure the change of ground elevation around the sinkhole over the next few days to try to determine whether it is still growing or is stabilized. But he added, "It will be at least three months before we can say if it's stable or not."

    Jayme Downs, whose home is about 300 yards from the sinkhole, said she wasn't sure if her nerves can hold out that long.

    "I'm very worried," Downs said as she and her 5-year-old daughter stood in front of the local high school, about a quarter of a mile from the sinkhole. Classes were in session Thursday.

    "You don't know what is going to happen. There's no way to tell. The whole town could cave in. You never know," she said.

    Officials said any further growth of the sinkhole probably would be very slow and if nearby homes were in danger, there would be warning. There are about 100 homes in the immediate area.

    Cpl. Hugh Bishop with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office said no homes had been evacuated and there had been no reports of injuries.

    Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the sinkhole.

    Daisetta sits on a salt dome, a natural formation created below the ground over millions of years where oil brine and natural gas accumulate. Oil drilling in the area, still dotted with working oil derricks, might have weakened the dome and caused it to collapse, Norman said.

    But the sinkhole might also be a natural occurrence caused by groundwater leaking into the salt dome and dissolving parts of it.

    Don Van Nieuwenhuise, a geosciences professor at the University of Houston, said oil production usually doesn't affect the integrity of a salt dome. He said he thinks the sinkhole is probably related to saltwater waste that is being stored underground in the area. The saltwater is a byproduct of oil production and has to be stored underground so it won't contaminate water supplies and the environment.

    "It probably fractured part of the salt dome and it's leaking out," he said.

    Investigators with the Texas Railroad Commission were checking pipelines and trying to determine if any regulations have been violated. Officials with Texas Natural Resources and Conservation were monitoring air and water quality. So far, no pollutants have been detected.

    Petroleum refiner Sunoco Inc. secured two 6-inch crude oil pipelines near the sinkhole that had started to leak Wednesday.
    "All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind." -- Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hey Big!

    Yeah I remember RYou was reassuring us it was no problem. I figure major problems are bound to happen in the future with more extensive drilling. Its all about luxury life and ignorance for environment.

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    Default Re: Hey Big!

    Future headline:

    AP--Town Caves in to Nature. Residents evacuate.

    All kidding aside, I've read two reports in recent days about small towns in Wyoming (in the otherwise clear mountain air) who now have big city pollution--such that there are air warnings. The problem? The boom in natural gas wells in their areas has caused low lying ozone (I think that's the word) to accumulate. This is a by product of the drilling as well as the many motor vehicles that go to and from the drilling sites.

  4. #4
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey Big!

    He said he thinks the sinkhole is probably related to saltwater waste that is being stored underground in the area. The saltwater is a byproduct of oil production and has to be stored underground so it won't contaminate water supplies and the environment.

    Oil drilling is not that close to the surface. If it was from removing the oil, that hole would be a heck of lot deeper than it is.

    The reason above is more likely the cause and given the salt storage was attibutable to some driller, this guy just removed the ability of an insurance company yo deny the claim on the basis of mother nature. The lady may lose her house, but someone will be building her a new one in the near future. Lost your car ? Head to the car lot, now cuz you're due a replacement.

  5. #5
    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey Big!

    Quote Originally Posted by matclone View Post
    Future headline:

    AP--Town Caves in to Nature. Residents evacuate.

    All kidding aside, I've read two reports in recent days about small towns in Wyoming (in the otherwise clear mountain air) who now have big city pollution--such that there are air warnings. The problem? The boom in natural gas wells in their areas has caused low lying ozone (I think that's the word) to accumulate. This is a by product of the drilling as well as the many motor vehicles that go to and from the drilling sites.
    Was Pinedale, WY one of the towns mentioned?

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    Default Re: Hey Big!

    No, it wasn't. Although I expect it maybe a problem in other towns as well.

    Here's one story I read, about Boulder, Wyo. The other one I believe I read in one of the Denver papers, and the writer of the story was living in or near Laramie as I recall--the other side of the state).

    The Associated Press: Air pollution in Wyo. community rivals that of big cities

  7. #7
    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey Big!

    Boulder is only about 10-15 miles down the road from Pinedale. Both are in a plain where they've found a huge natural gas deposit. The local governments are in a tight spot because they have conflicting interests in their residents and the gas companies.

    The property owners only own the surface of the land, but the U.S. government has the right to grant leases for the mineral rights and the land owner has little to no recourse for the damage that can be done to their land, their livestock, their crops, irrigation, etc. There are tons of other issues that come with the drilling.......

    Pinedale provides cautionary tale for Colorado communities : Oil and Gas : The Rocky Mountain News

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hey Big!

    Quote Originally Posted by Big View Post
    Yeah I remember RYou was reassuring us it was no problem. I figure major problems are bound to happen in the future with more extensive drilling. Its all about luxury life and ignorance for environment.
    When you quit riding in cars, turing on lights and heating your food be sure to tell the rest of us.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hey Big!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tight-Waist View Post
    When you quit riding in cars, turing on lights and heating your food be sure to tell the rest of us.
    Mr Civil, isn't one forum enough for you?

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