The giant Texas crater that first appeared in 2008 has swelled in size since Sunday and is now more than 1,000 feet wide and 400 feet deep.
- The sinkhole in Daecita, Texas, has grown more than 150 feet in width and depth this week
- Residents said they packed their bags and parked their cars to escape if necessary
- The authorities said they could do nothing to prevent the sinkhole from collapsing
A massive sinkhole in Southeast Texas that first made headlines by threatening homes in 2008 began collapsing again over the weekend, swelling to more than 1,000 feet wide and 400 feet deep overnight.
After years of stability, the edge of the sinkhole in Daiseta began collapsing again Sunday night after residents reported hearing a gunshot coming from the ground hours earlier.
The neighbors went to bed on Sunday night and awoke to find that the sinkhole had been growing, and since then had increased in width and depth by about 150 feet.
The crater terrorized the neighborhood for the first time in 15 years when it started with a 20-foot hole, but quickly became a crater 900 feet in diameter and 250 feet deep. As it grew, it swallowed cars, oil tanks, and power lines, and caused extensive road closures in the small town.
Experts believe that the sinkhole is caused by the erosion of a large salt dome—large underground salt deposits—on top of which the Daisetta was built.
The sinkhole in Daecita, Texas, has grown by about 150 in width and depth since Sunday
An aerial view of the crater that has grown since it began opening again Sunday night
Pictures from Daisetta showed a large metal tank falling into the sinkhole, and even a building starting to run over the edge. Authorities reported that the metal tanks were empty and posed no danger, but said they were looking into whether other nearby tanks needed to be moved.
Neighbors awoke Monday morning, amazed to see the hole, which had suddenly fallen asleep overnight.
“We never thought it would start again,” said neighbor Linda Hoover. KTRK. “When we bought our house a few years ago, we knew it had settled down.”
Other neighbors said they did not sleep peacefully at night for fear that their houses might collapse under them at night.
I was having a lot of trouble sleeping last night because I didn’t know if we were going to swallow. “My family has told me it happened kind of fast before,” Jordana Pressler said.
Tim Pressler recalled the dramatic experience of watching the sinkhole begin to open again.
“My neighbor came and said he kept hearing crackling sounds like a gunshot,” he said. We went to the backyard, and there were buildings falling down. It was like in a movie. You can see cracks forming in the ground.
Hoover said she and her family packed up and parked their cars so they could get away on short notice if the sinkhole began to threaten their home.
‘My worst fear is that he will overtake us in the night. So that’s why we couldn’t really sleep. We packed our bags just in case and parked our cars funny. So we can get out of here quickly if we need to.
The ground near the edge of the stream could be seen cracking as it fell to the ground
Daisetta Pit in 2008 after growing from a 20-foot hole to a 900-foot-wide hole
Fire officials serving Daisetta said there was nothing they could do about digging the holes, and that they were a force of nature doing their thing, according to KTRK.
“The water holes are very unpredictable,” said Liberty Fire County Assistant Marshall Erskine Holcomb. “It could take a week to move one foot, or it could collapse 20 feet overnight.”
Daceta officials said at this point that no evacuations were needed.
“City officials immediately contacted the offices of the Liberty County Judge, the Liberty County Fire Marshal, and the Texas Department of Emergency Management, notifying residents in the immediate area of the situation,” the city said in a statement. “City officials are monitoring the situation closely and will work with state and local authorities to provide updates to the community as the situation progresses.”
Salt domes occur when a salt aquifer collects in a large underground column, forming a dome shape just below ground level.
If the salt erodes, caverns within the dome open up which can collapse and create holes.