Lake Peigneur Sinkhole Disaster: Largest Man-Made Sinkhole Drains a Whole Lake Into Salt Caverns In Louisiana

The Lake Peigneur sinkhole disaster is almost unbelievable!

During this unusual event, the largest man-made sinkhole ever made, drained an entire lake, a drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding terrains into a salt mine shaft.

Lake Peigneur was a 10-foot (3 m) deep freshwater body situated in the US state of Louisiana between Delcambre and New Iberia until an unusual man-made disaster on November 20, 1980 changed its structure and the surrounding land.

Lake Peigneur actually sat above a labyrinth of salt caverns mined by the Diamond Crystal Salt Company. On this November 20, 1980, a Texaco oil rig accidentally drilled into the mine under the lake. The lake started rushing into the hole expanding its size while filling up the enormous caverns left by the removal of salt over the years.

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This image depicts the huge waterfall that formed when an oil drilling rig in Lake Peigneur punctured the ceiling of an underlying salt mine. Photo: Department of mining, Australia

The Texaco’s drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding terrain were swallowed underground and underwater. 400-foot (120 m) geysers erupted up through the mineshafts. An apocalypse!

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Lake Peigneur disaster – barges being sucked by vortex

The backwards flow of the normally outflowing Delcambre Canal temporarily created the biggest waterfall in Louisiana at 164 feet (50 m), as the lake refilled with salt water from the Delcambre Canal and Vermilion Bay.

As a result, the Lake Peigneur sinkhole event changed the lake from freshwater to saltwater as the Delcambre Canal and Vermilion Bay are naturally salty or brackish.

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