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What caused reported Lafourche, Terrebonne tremor?

Last Modified: Friday, October 05, 2012 1:49 PM

HOUMA (AP) — Officials in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes are looking into residents' reports of earth tremors in the area on Wednesday

So far, they have no answers.

Chris Boudreaux, Lafourche's director of Emergency Operations, said efforts to find a possible source — such as sonic booms from airplanes or vibrations from oilfield activity — have turned up nothing.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported no seismic activity, although its closest monitors are in Assumption Parish and extreme west Terrebonne, Boudreaux said.

Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the Geological Survey's National Earthquake Center, told The Courier that there are not many seismic monitors in south Louisiana because there is rarely any such activity in the area. He said there would have to be several such monitors within 50 miles of such a weak quake's epicenter to detect it.

Lockport resident Bryan Comardelle had just sat down to watch television when he felt the rumble.

"It was just a sudden vibration," Comardelle said. "I live in a brick house, and it even made it shake."

Most reports are fairly uniform: one to four tremors reported in the southern reaches of the parishes all the way up into Raceland and Houma. Some people reported hearing a loud noise similar to thunder accompanying the rumbling.

"Of course the sinkhole comes to mind," said Raceland resident Lauren Matherne, who was sitting in her home with she felt the jolt.

Residents of the Assumption Parish community of Bayou Corne felt light tremors in the months leading up to the emergence of the 400 foot-wide sinkhole in the swamp near the community this past summer.

Scientists believe the sinkhole was caused when a subterranean brine cavern collapsed within the Napoleonville Salt Dome. The floor of the cavern is more than 1,000 feet underground.

Though Lafourche and Terrebonne have similar brine caverns, Boudreaux said there is no reason to believe there are any similarities to the Bayou Corne situation.

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