NAPOLEONVILLE, La. (AP) — Officials say drilling on two wells is expected to begin over the next week near the Assumption Parish community of Bayou Corne to learn more about the sinkhole that emerged there last month.

The Courier reports that officials believe a planned vent well will determine whether natural gas exists in a water aquifer used to create oil mud known as brine.

John Boudreaux, Assumption Parish's director of emergency operations, said a planned observation well will test the integrity of the collapsed salt dome that caused the sinkhole. Boudreaux said there is 900 feet of salt to drill through before the cavern is reached.

Bayou Corne's approximately 350 or so residents remain under a mandatory evacuation while scientists determine the reason for the sinkhole's emergence.