Description: Lake Peigneur is a shallow, now salt-water, lake near New Iberia, Louisiana that was the location of an unusual man-made catastrophe on November 21, 1980. Beneath the lake, there was both the Diamond Crystal Salt Mine and Texaco's oil drilling occurring concurrently.
The generally accepted cause of the disaster is that a miscalculated oil probe punctured the roof of a salt shaft, creating a drain for the lake. The lake then proceeded to drain into the hole, as the mine was evacuated. The giant whirlpool created sucked in the drilling platform, 11 barges, many trees, buildings, and some of the surrounding terrain. It even reversed the flow of the Delcambre canal that went to the Gulf of Mexico, creating for a few days the largest waterfall ever in Louisiana state (50-100 feet) as the lake refilled. No lives were lost as a result of the disaster.
In the aftermath of the disaster, 9 of the 11 lost barges popped out of the water. The event dramatically affected the ecosystem of the lake, both by greatly increasing the depth of the lake, and increasing the salt content of the water from the reversed flow of the Delcambre canal. Both of these changed the biology of the lake, introducing new plants, and even changing the type of fish that inhabited the lake.
Texaco and Wilson Brothers (the drilling company) paid $32 million to Diamond Crystal and $12.8 million to Live Oak Gardens in out-of-court