A giant underground Salt Mine cavity in New Mexico is a “time bomb waiting to implode” according to geologists who expect the surrounding region to sink into a hole at any moment. “The cavity is the result of three decades of salt mining, a process in which oil service companies inject water into a salt layer 450 feet underground, allow the water to dissolve the salt, and then suck up the brine. Oil companies use the brine to help extract oil from the earth. Over the years, more than 6 million cubic feet of brine was removed from the Carlsbad well and sold for use in the oil fields that blanket the surrounding desert… Local officials say a collapse would ravage the city's economy and could do as much as $100 million in damage to the pecan and cotton fields that depend on the irrigation channel. El Dorado Estates residents say they would be left homeless; most are itinerant oil field or construction workers or retirees, like the Fletchers, who live on fixed incomes.”