A possible breach of a butane-filled well 1500 feet from Louisiana, Bayou Corne's sinkhole, the size of three football fields, is so "very serious," it has Assumption Parish sheriff and local residents ordered to evacuate worried about a catastrophic explosion, one according to scientists in an Examiner investigation, would be in the range of one and a half B83 thermonuclear (hydrogen) bombs, the most powerful United States weapons in active service.
“The disaster is made all the more worrisome because the hole is believed to be close to a well containing 1.5 million barrels of liquid butane, a highly volatile liquid that turns into a highly flammable vapor upon release,” CNN reported Friday about Louisiana's declared State of Emergency.
Earlier it was reported the butane-filled well is only 1500 feet from the sinkhole and it will not be emptied.
A breach of that well, Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said, could be "catastrophic,” CNN reports.
If ignited, the butane well would release as much explosive energy as 100 Hiroshima bombs, Deborah Dupré's scientist sources told her Sunday.
Potential butane explosive capacity calculated
The 1.5 million barrels of liquid butane 1500 feet from the sinkhole has an explosive capacity of 100 Hiroshima nuclear bombs, 1.5 times the explosive force of the largest thermonuclear weapon in current service in the U.S., according to Wikipedia scientific data and popular citizen reporter, Dutchsince, and confirmed by Dupré's sources this weekend.
Excluding secondary oil and gas pipeline and refinery explosions, direct effects of such a single bomb blast in Bayou Corne, fifty miles from Baton Rouge, would include Donaldsonville, Louisiana, according to NUKEMAP simulations showing an H-bomb this size would produce:
"Fire-ball radius: (central orange circle): 0.62 km / 0.39 mi. Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation.
"Air blast radius: 3.8 km / 2.1 mi (red shaded circle) 20 psi overpressure; heavily built concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished; fatalities approach 100%
"Air blast radius: 8.93 km / 5.55 mi (gray shaded circle) 4.6 psi overpressure; most buildings collapse; injuries universal, fatalities widespread.
"Thermal radiation radius: 15.18 km / 9.43 mi (outer orange shaded circle) Third-degree burns to all exposed skin; starts fires in flammable materials, contributes to firestorm if large enough."
Note: Butane explosion effects would differ from H-bomb effects two ways: 1) It would take much longer and have insignificant radiation damage; 2) Temperatures reached would be lower, so the fireball, thermal radiation, and air blast radii would be smaller, but all three longer-lasting ( via examiner.com ).