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Man, that sucks.
March 28, 2006 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Early in the morning on November 21, 1980, twelve men abandonded their oil rig on Lake Peigneur in Louisiana, suspecting that something was wrong. Little did they know they created a SWIRLING VORTEX OF DOOM!
posted by punkfloyd (59 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Cool story punkfloyd! Thanks!
posted by wfrgms at 1:57 PM on March 28, 2006


Gotta check this out the next time I'm visiting my uncle down there. Also in New Iberia: the best factory tour ever.
posted by jrb223 at 1:59 PM on March 28, 2006


That is amazing. I've always wondered about this sort of thing - what if someone mined under a lake? Absolutely fantastic post.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:59 PM on March 28, 2006


A saw a show about this on the History Channel (smooshed between WWII docs). Spectacular stuff.
posted by brundlefly at 1:59 PM on March 28, 2006


This is what happens when you drill for oil above a salt mine. Was anyone else not suprised by the drilling team going into the mine?

Interesting story regardless.
posted by rand at 2:00 PM on March 28, 2006


jrb223 writes "Also in New Iberia: the best factory tour ever."

Amen to that. Plus they have cidar jugs of Tabasco in the gift shop.
posted by brundlefly at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2006


Interestingly enough, sometimes when I initiate the SWIRLING VORTEX OF DOOM in my restroom "barges" pop back up the the surface when the water refils.

Perhaps there's a salt dome down there.
posted by DragonBoy at 2:04 PM on March 28, 2006


Doh!
posted by loquacious at 2:06 PM on March 28, 2006


Incredible story. Wonder if there is video of that somewhere.

This is what happens when you drill for oil above a salt mine

Apparently there was a miscalculation or communication error, they did not intend to drill above the mine.
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:06 PM on March 28, 2006


DragonBoy...try eating less cheese.
posted by punkfloyd at 2:06 PM on March 28, 2006


I wonder how many times somebody said "Whoops" watching that.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:09 PM on March 28, 2006


Cool story. Great link!
posted by Zinger at 2:10 PM on March 28, 2006


Salt is a fascinating book, and touches on these salt mines, where beasts of burden were lowered down to work and never brought back out, living their lives down there. Also talks about the nearby invention of Tabasco.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:10 PM on March 28, 2006


Lake Peigneur on Google Maps, for those who were going to look. Cool story, thanks punkfloyd.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:11 PM on March 28, 2006


Does nothing good come of oil?
posted by sourwookie at 2:12 PM on March 28, 2006


Very cool story, and boy would I love to have seen it in person. Except down in that mine, which must've been scary as hell.
posted by rollbiz at 2:14 PM on March 28, 2006


There was a similar event in Russia or ex-USSR recently -- a whole lake disappeared overnight.
posted by Mid at 2:19 PM on March 28, 2006


Here it is.
posted by Mid at 2:20 PM on March 28, 2006


Damn thats a great story....there's another site I'm going to get sucked into for a quite a while
posted by timsteil at 2:21 PM on March 28, 2006


That site certainly earns its moniker.
posted by caddis at 2:23 PM on March 28, 2006


Okay. I'm from Louisiana, and I was alive when that happened, but I've never heard this story before.

Excellent stuff.

And I'll be reading more on this.
posted by ColdChef at 2:25 PM on March 28, 2006


My photos from Avery Island.
posted by ColdChef at 2:40 PM on March 28, 2006


What I would pay to be a fly on the wall when this was reported to the corporate bigwigs.

The best thing about this is that nobody died and an oil company lost a lot of money! I challenge anyone to find a cooler engineering disaster.
posted by Ridx at 2:40 PM on March 28, 2006


From the same site: The Six-Stroke Engine. I was originally gonna post a "5 blade razor" wisecrack, but after reading the whole thing, it looks... well, damn interesting.
posted by rkent at 2:40 PM on March 28, 2006


MetaMonkey: "Apparently there was a miscalculation or communication error, they did not intend to drill above the mine."

Well, technically they specifically intended to drill above the mine. They didn't intend to drill into one of the shafts.

Given the complex 3D geometry of mines and caves, my money's initially on miscalculation, but since oil drilling needs the same 3D knowledge, I'm gonna switch to commo.
posted by mystyk at 2:42 PM on March 28, 2006


Why I'm always skeptical of the words "we know what we're doing".
posted by HTuttle at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2006


rkent: That's an amazing idea. I also browsed the site a bit after reading the linked article but missed that. Considering how much energy is discarded as waste heat from internal combustion engines (more than is actually used to produce work), that's simply one of the smartest damn things I've ever seen.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2006


"Does nothing good come of oil?" - sourwookie

I think metafilter's kinda neat. So, that's one thing.
posted by rush at 2:59 PM on March 28, 2006


This has to be one of the biggest "Dude, WTF?!" moments in US lake drilling history.
posted by drstein at 3:04 PM on March 28, 2006


Or perhaps a "ZOMG saltdome is ghey!1!!" moment.
posted by CRM114 at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2006


Oopsy.

Reminds me of the story of the copper mines near my house. They were down about three hundred feet, hit an underground river and the mine filled up overnight. There are supposed to be trucks still down at the bottom.
posted by fenriq at 3:27 PM on March 28, 2006


Via...... ? (saw this elsewhere yesterday)
posted by melt away at 3:52 PM on March 28, 2006


Sounds like they stumbled onto the Nexus of all Realities!
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:54 PM on March 28, 2006


sourwookie writes "Does nothing good come of oil?"

Salad dressing?
posted by brundlefly at 3:54 PM on March 28, 2006


Another vote for "Salt." It amazing how damned interesting the history of salt is.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:00 PM on March 28, 2006


Damn interesting, sorry.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:00 PM on March 28, 2006


There's a salt mine under Lake Erie...if this happened here, it would only be a matter of time until the Cleveland "mistake on the lake" jokes got hauled out...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:06 PM on March 28, 2006


via digg.com yesterday.
posted by lunalaguna at 4:15 PM on March 28, 2006


"From the same site: The Six-Stroke Engine. I was originally gonna post a "5 blade razor" wisecrack, but after reading the whole thing, it looks... well, damn interesting."

Crower is a smart, smart man when it comes to the internal combustion engine. I've used his camshafts in several engines I've built.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:28 PM on March 28, 2006


"via digg.com yesterday"

Or not.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:32 PM on March 28, 2006


That site utterly rocks. It's like that carrrazzee Reader's Digest big book of anomalies and mysteries from when I was a kid, but online, and with fresh content, and, like, free!
posted by mwhybark at 5:07 PM on March 28, 2006


I've been to Jefferson Island, and seen the site of this particular disaster (grew up in south Louisiana). There's a little museum with a ton of photographs--it took a while for the whole disaster to unfold, so people were able to get a good, long look at it.

There was an internationally-renowned botanical garden swallowed whole, along with lots of other stuff. There's still a chimney and part of a wall sticking up out of the water, among other things. Neat place to visit.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:38 PM on March 28, 2006


That was a reply to melt away's question. It wasn't intended to be a link. The confusion proves we need to be able to reply to one another's comments...like on digg.
posted by lunalaguna at 5:40 PM on March 28, 2006


This incident was clearly a partial inspiration for A View to a Kill.

See also Russian villagers baffled by missing lake. (They blame Bush.)
posted by dhartung at 6:25 PM on March 28, 2006


Via...... ? (saw this elsewhere yesterday)
posted by melt away at 6:52 PM EST on March 28 [!]


Who cares?

That site utterly rocks. It's like that carrrazzee Reader's Digest big book of anomalies and mysteries from when I was a kid, but online, and with fresh content, and, like, free!
posted by mwhybark at 8:07 PM EST on March 28 [!]


Agreed, and it has been a rich source of posts to MeFi in the past few months. Where do they get all this good stuff?
posted by caddis at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2006


Six strokes are really old. My great uncle had a 2 cylinder tractor that alternated between desiel and steam on each cylinder. The tractor was made before WWII.
posted by Mitheral at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2006


I'm surprised that it was even possible to dig a mine that deep in New Iberia without having it flood... lake or no lake.
posted by grimcity at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2006


See also. That was the first thing I thought of when I read this post.

Is it bad that I can remember things from July of last year with no difficulty, but easily forget what I had for dinner last night?
posted by malthas at 9:17 PM on March 28, 2006


Something similar happened on Jan. 22, 1959, when coal miners dug too close to the Susquehanna River in Port Griffith, Pennsylvania.

Twelve men were killed in the Knox Mine Disaster when the river broke through. An estimated 10 billion gallons of water flooded the mine, and authorities dumped entire railroad cars into the hole in an attempt to plug it. Ultimately, this disaster finished deep mining in the Wyoming valley.
posted by Opposite George at 9:26 PM on March 28, 2006


This is an absolutely fascinating thread - thanks to all who have added stories, it's really intriguing.
posted by greycap at 10:09 PM on March 28, 2006


There was a swirling mass of water that lived in a quiet pond.
It asked permission from its master to visit the lands beyond.
And its master allowed it to fly.
So the wind swept the whirlpool across the sky.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:24 PM on March 28, 2006


What a gripping story - great post.
posted by rhymer at 4:19 AM on March 29, 2006


Holy shit! That's no salty dogshaggy dog story!
posted by OmieWise at 5:22 AM on March 29, 2006


From the Google Maps link - I love the way the field boundaries around the lake make it look like they were arranged by a larger whirlpool effect. Or is it just me?
posted by Sk4n at 6:17 AM on March 29, 2006


I don't quite get how a 50 foot waterfall was created as the lake refilled, given that it was only 11 feet deep to start with.
posted by smackfu at 7:57 AM on March 29, 2006


smackfu, I think the 50 foot waterfall was into the hole they drilled in the middle of the lake, falling into the mine below.
posted by crawl at 8:27 AM on March 29, 2006


crawl, the 50ft waterfall refers to water flowing from the gulf of mexico backwards down the barge channel. It got so high because the entire lakebed eroded as the water sucked down into the mine. I've got the video somewhere, but just finished moving at home and dunno where it'd be, or I'd put it up for all to watch.
posted by nomisxid at 10:37 AM on March 29, 2006


About that six-stroke engine -- if you're burning hydrogen, isn't water the byproduct? And so couldn't that water be reclaimed, to extend the distance you could drive before you'd need to refill the water jug, as it were?
posted by davejay at 4:20 PM on March 29, 2006


You could, but you'd need a helliously big radiator and reclaimation system. Water is so cheap it is easier to just throw the steam away.
posted by Mitheral at 9:38 AM on March 30, 2006


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