Monday, October 5, 2015

Digging Deep

New evidence suggest a company drilling a deep well in search of natural gas set off a flow of hot, gausses mud, from two miles below the surface of the earth. The damage was immediate. An area much bigger than Wilmette was covered in hot liquid mud. About 40,000 people had to flee, and 20 could not escape and were killed. This toxic mud is even now polluting the local river with dangerous heavy metals. The events happened nine years ago in the worlds fourth most populace nation, Indonesia. One reason the new study is so important, is that scientists, businesses, and government officials have been debating what caused this disaster, since it happened. The reason for the debate is that two events which could have caused it, happened within a few days. First, their was an earth quake. Two days later, at the natural gas well, exploring two miles beneath the surface of the earth, hot liquid mud started bubbling up to the surface. Some thought the earth quake caused the mud flow, while others blamed the drilling.

The new study was just published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience. Evidence showed that the mud probably came from the same depth as that which was reached by the drill. This great depth is far below the shallower clay that is sometimes liquified in an earthquake. A number of experts have suggested that the company which drilled the well failed to follow proper safety precautions, and if they had, this never would have happened. One scientist, Dr. Tingay, said drilling records from the company could help settle the question. The company, however, has refused to provide the records. While people might debate the cause, or argue about why the company can get away with hiding records, all experts agree one thing is certain: the mud will continue to leak for the next 8-18 years. What's really incredible is that no matter how much the leakage slows, this giant disaster will be a feature of this part of Java for centuries to come.