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Daisetta Sinkhole -- Daisetta TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 30° 07.241 W 094° 38.776
15R E 341402 N 3333301
Quick Description: The giant sinkhole at Daisetta TX, also the site of a virtual cache.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 9/15/2012 11:54:05 AM
Waymark Code: WMF9KR
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member the federation
Views: 3

Long Description:
The Daisetta Sinkhole opened suddenly in 2008, to the horror of residents.

From the Houston Chronicle:

THE DAISETTA SINKHOLE
As earth falls away, anxiety bubbles up
Residents pack their bags despite news the massive hole has stabilized
As Daisetta sinkhole grows, so does town's anxiety

JENNIFER LATSON and CINDY HORSWELL, Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle | Friday, May 9, 2008

In a former oil town pocked by the derricks of days gone by, people always knew the ground could sink away. They just never thought it would.

The sinkhole that opened suddenly in Daisetta on Wednesday morning had yawned to the width of three football fields end-to-end and a depth of more than 250 feet by late Thursday, although its growth had significantly slowed since Wednesday, officials said.

Liberty County sheriff's Lt. Hugh Bishop said this morning that the hole did not grow significantly overnight and authorities hope it has stabilized.

``We will be continuing to monitor it, but we aren't seeing it get bigger like it did that first day," he said.

Texas Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye agreed that the hole appeared to be stable.

Some residents closest to the hole packed suitcases in case they needed to leave in a hurry. Some sought refuge in nearby motels. Others stood their ground.

The sinkhole was both nuisance and novelty for townspeople learning to cope with the constant drone of news helicopters.

Dozens of residents made a field trip to the pasture that offers the best view of the growing chasm.

Howard Young grazes his cattle in that pasture. He fed them Thursday evening as neighbors came out for a glimpse of the gorge.

Young isn't worried about the shifting ridge 50 yards from the pasture's edge and 300 yards from his home.

"I've lived here all my life," said the 50-year-old. "Everywhere out there is pits and holes."

Young and his wife watched Wednesday as one of the tall pines just beyond the field listed and then sank out of view.

"I told him I'm watching that beige building," said Brenda Young, gesturing near the pine trees. "If that goes, then I'll worry." The cows, too, were unspooked by the nearby destruction.

"The only thing they've reacted to is the people coming in," Young said.

'This is going to happen'
The town had its heyday after an oil strike in 1918. Now the community is home to just a few working oil wells and an Exxon storage facility. The legacy of the oil rush, some residents say, is the instability of the soil.
"The reality is, this is going to happen in an oilfield. You wish it didn't happen three blocks from your house," said Roger Riley, who built his home here five years ago.

Riley and his wife had already packed a travel trailer with clothing and food. They stood at the edge of Young's field Thursday and eyed the sinkhole.

"When the hurricane came through here, that's when we learned to be prepared," Riley said of Hurricane Rita, which devastated the town three years ago. "There are people still recovering here."

Residents don't expect the sinkhole to do nearly as much damage, although it has ravaged the disposal business at its epicenter, one of the town's major employers.

Officials on Thursday said the company, Deloach Vacuum Disposal Co., may have had something to do with the sinkhole, since it injects oil brine into one of the many salt domes beneath the town.

''Because of the proximity to it, that's the highest probability," said Donald Van Nieuwenhuise, director of petroleum geoscience programs at the University of Houston.

Sinkhole appears stable
Don Kudro, who works for Deloach, said he helped dispose of 65 tanker truckloads a day of saltwater waste in the two wells there.
''But now I wonder if I will have a job to come back to," he said after seeing the massive hole and the company's main office building not far from the edge.

While the hole had been expanding by as much as 20 feet an hour on Wednesday, by Thursday only an occasional dirt clump sloughed off the sinkhole's wall, said Lt. Bishop. The sinkhole hasn't grown noticeably since midnight on Thursday, Bishop said.

Sinkholes are unpredictable, sometimes growing in spurts that stop and start, and probably should be observed for three months before the site is declared safe, said Carl Norman, a retired University of Houston professor who specializes in active faults and sinkholes.

Norman spent Wednesday and Thursday surveying and observing Daisetta's sinkhole site. He recalled one that formed in Wink, in far West Texas, that was 150 feet in diameter but grew to 800 feet six months later.

Law enforcement in Daisetta had shut down the main road through town, FM 770, about half a mile from the hole, across the street from the high school.

School was still in session, but some parents picked up their children Wednesday and kept them home Thursday. Only about 50 of 200 students were in class by the end of the day Wednesday, students said.

On Thursday, the Pink Ladies youth softball team practiced behind the school.

The girls joked about the crater, which they called "Sinkhole de Mayo," but there was nervous energy behind the jokes.

"My clothes are already packed up," said 13-year-old Alexis Goodman, who lives a few blocks from the hole. "All I have to do is put my little brother inside."

Meagan Smith, 14, lives even closer.

"I'm kind of scared," she said. "My dad's on oxygen. He has to go to dialysis every other day. It would be hard for him to move."

Chronicle reporter Matthew Tresaugue contributed. [end of story]

Over the years, the hole appeared to be stable as the Texas Railroad Commission laughably tried to assert every theory that oil and gas drilling operations WERE NOT to blame. (duh -- of course they were).

At one point, a 7-foot long alligator made the sinkhole his home. He wasn't bothering anybody, so he was left alone.
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