Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jefferson Island SALT

I still haven't figured out what to do with all these great bags...any ideas??

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One of the things I love about collecting vintage linens is that they're such a history lesson. I purchased a box of beautiful bags -- they all said the same thing. "Jefferson Island SALT"...
They were in various stages of "bleaching out" the lettering...

The whole point was to be able to recycle the bag into some handy household linen -- in this case -- with the colorful red and white woven stripes -- it would be a kitchen towel...

When i "googled" Jefferson Island Salt company -- this is according to Wikipedia...
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On 20 November 1980, when the disaster took place, the Diamond Crystal Salt Company operated the Jefferson Island salt mine under the lake, while a Texaco oil rig drilled down from the surface of the lake searching for petroleum. Due to a miscalculation, the 14-inch (36 cm) drill bit entered the mine, starting a chain of events which at the time turned an almost 10-foot (3.0 m) deep freshwater lake into a salt water lake with a deep hole.

It is difficult to determine exactly what occurred, as all of the evidence was destroyed or washed away in the ensuing maelstrom. The now generally accepted explanation is that a miscalculation by Texaco regarding their location resulted in the drill puncturing the roof of the third level of the mine. This created an opening in the bottom of the lake. The lake then drained into the hole, expanding the size of that hole as the soil and salt were washed into the mine by the rushing water, filling the enormous caverns left by the removal of salt over the years. The resultant whirlpool sucked in the drilling platform, eleven barges, many trees and 65 acres (260,000 m2) of the surrounding terrain. So much water drained into those caverns that the flow of the Delcambre Canal that usually empties the lake into Vermilion Bay was reversed, making the canal a temporary inlet. This backflow created, for a few days, the tallest waterfall ever in the state of Louisiana, at 164 feet (50 m), as the lake refilled with salt water from the Delcambre Canal and Vermilion Bay. The water downflowing into the mine caverns displaced air which erupted as compressed air and then later as 400-foot (120 m) geysers up through the mineshafts.[4]

There were no injuries and no human lives lost. All 55 employees in the mine at the time of the accident were able to escape thanks to well-planned and rehearsed evacuation drills, while the staff of the drilling rig fled the platform before it was sucked down into the new depths of the lake, and Leonce Viator, Jr. (a local fisherman) was able to drive his small boat to the shore and get out.[4] Three dogs were reported killed, however. Days after the disaster, once the water pressure equalized, nine of the eleven sunken barges popped out of the whirlpool and refloated on the lake's surface.
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Who knew?
This island is part of a group of similar structures off the coast of Louisiana known collectively as the Five Islands. In addition to Avery Island, the Five Islands also include Weeks, Belle Isle, and Cote Blanche. Each of the islands sits on top of a dome of salt, and in addition to salt, the Five Islands also have rich oil and gas deposits which have been heavily exploited over the years. Because of the salt deposits present on the Five Islands, they became a fiercely defended property during the Civil War, when salt was at a premium. Avery Island, owned by the Tabasco Company, was once also used to produce cayenne peppers.
Originally, Jefferson Island was known as Orange Island. It was purchased by actor Joseph Jefferson in 1869 for the purpose of establishing a summer home, and it was ultimately named after him. Jefferson built a mansion on the site which is now on the National Register of Historic Places; the mansion today is surrounded by sprawling gardens established by John Lyle Bayless, who purchased the Island after Jefferson's death.
The Diamond Salt Company mined for salt on the Island until 1986, while Texaco drilled for natural oil and gas resources. Today, the underground salt dome is used to store natural gas, because it is a very stable environment for long-term storage. Some suggestions have been made that the salt domes on the Five Islands would also make a good storage facility for nuclear material, although concerns about the risk of seepage make it unlikely that these suggestions will ever be put into action.
In 1980, Jefferson Island attracted national attention when Texaco made an unfortunate mistake while drilling for oil, causing neighboring Lake Peigneur to collapse into the salt mine on Jefferson Island. The lake formed a whirlpool which sucked a wide variety of items into the mine, and the area was flooded with water from the Delcambre Canal, which normally flowed in the opposite direction. As the salt mine filled with water, it forced air out, forming impressive geysers which towered over the area for several days until the water pressure was equalized.

1 comment:

  1. wow! that would have been a sight to see.

    ReplyDelete