Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Plugging The Volcano

Oh man! Do you remember my post about the mud volcano in East Java, where a natural gas-exploration company used faulty practices in their drilling and wound up creating a mud-spewing volcano that has since displaced 13,000 people and buried four villages? Well, make that 15,000 people, and the mud is still spreading. It has now threatened a major railway.

Even though leading geologists have published a report showing the catastrophe was caused by faulty drilling techniques, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the company to pay restitution, the drilling company, PT Lapindo Brantas, and Indonesian welfare minister Aburizal Bakrie, whose family owns the company, still claim the company is innocent and that the catastrophe is due to natural causes. Efforts to divert the mud flow to a local river have failed.

Here is a YouTube video of the volcano and the attempts to build diversion levees:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJdjcL4aPD4

Geologists suggest further attempts to divert the flow, to the sea, but the Indonesian government has other plans: Plug the hole!

http://www.physorg.com/news91194086.html

That's right. Their plan is to lower 2,000 high-density concrete balls into the hole of the volcano, thinking that the balls will slow the flow by 50 – 70%. A local geologist says it is doomed to failure and that the balls will likely be pushed back out.

Seems sorta like the story of the Dutch boy putting his finger in the dike, eh?

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