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Thursday
Aug222013

WATCH: Louisiana Sinkhole Swallows Trees in Seconds

Ernst Haas / Getty Images(BAYOU CORNE, La.) -- The power of a Louisiana sinkhole nearly 24 acres in size was captured on camera Wednesday when the sinkhole swallowed up trees and land in just seconds.

The video was captured by officials from Assumption Parish's Office of Emergency Preparedness and posted on the parish’s blog.  The sinkhole sits in the middle of a heavily wooded space in Assumption Parish, which is about 50 miles south of Baton Rouge.

The sinkhole was nearly 400 feet deep with a diameter of 372 feet when it first opened in August 2012.  The opening forced a mandatory evacuation order for about 150 residences of the parish’s nearly 24,000 residents for fear of potential radiation and explosions.

Officials described Wednesday’s sinkhole event as a “slough-in.” The parish has been posting regular updates and videos of the sinkhole, including a “burp” earlier in the day Wednesday -- caused by air and gas from deep in the sinkhole bubbling up --  that raised the code alert to level three, the highest level possible.

All crew activity was halted in the area after Wednesday’s events, according to the city’s blog.

The sinkhole is now the source of a lawsuit between the state of Louisiana and Texas Brine Company, which owns a nearby salt cavern.

After being used for nearly 30 years, the cavern was plugged in 2011 and officials believe the integrity of the cavern may have somehow been compromised, leading to the sinkhole.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced earlier this month that the state will sue the company for environmental damages.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio