We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Jefferson Island?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Jefferson Island is a salt dome located in Iberia Parish, in Southern Louisiana. The term “Island” is a bit of a misnomer, as Jefferson Island and its nearby neighbor Avery Island are not actually islands at all, but rather protruding salt domes which stand out from the surrounding landscape. These salt domes were formed through the slow evaporation of the ocean which once covered the area, and they are a substantial natural resource.

This island is part of a group of similar structures 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.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a America Explained researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon990041 — On Apr 02, 2015

Regarding Jefferson Island Salt.

In the years between 1949 and 1952, I used to hear a jingle that was sung by a quartet. This jingle was very short.

The words, as I recall, were "Pure salt . Jefferson Island Salt, pure salt." They used a bass and a high tenor.

I heard this jingle on WLAC in Nashville and possibly WSM. I cannot find information on the above. Wayne P.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.