Lake Peigneur

Hubris is defined as arrogance, such as invites disaster.
Some people really should read that definition.

In November 1980 contractors working for Texaco started to drill an exploratory oil well in three foot deep Lake Peigneur, Louisianna.

During the early hours of November 21 the drillers encountered problems when their drill began to move in an unexpected way. Shortly afterwards the drilling rig started to tilt and, fearing a collapse, the workers retreated to the safety of the shore.

About this time a whirlpool was noticed under the drilling rig and this rapidly expanded eventually becoming over fifty feet in diameter.

Within hours all the water had vanished from the 1300 acre lake and with it had gone the drilling rig, a second nearby drilling rig, a tugboat, several barges and a loading dock from a canal. Part of a nearby tourist attraction and nature reserve, the Rip Van Winkle Live Oak Gardens, also vanished into the hole.

The water vanished so quickly that fishermen were stranded as their boats settled on what had been the lake bed. One man who struggled ashore through the mud later stated that he thought the world was coming to an end.

Subsequent enquiries revealed that nobody had checked exactly where the nearby Diamond Crystal salt mine was located and that the exploratory well had been drilled into the mine, flooding it completely.

Eventually Lake Peigneur refilled although parts of it are now over 1200 feet deep.

The author and owner of this work is E.D. Wivens. See http://www.katzphur.co.uk/ for more details.
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