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Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Unprecedented Disaster!

It just keeps getting worse.  The Wall Street Journal ( is reporting that the leak may be far greater than even the recently revised estimates.  The first reports estimated that the well might be leaking 1,000 barrels a day.  Then the estimates were revised to 5,000. Now it is though that it could be as high as 25,000 barrels a day. That's a million gallons a day – 9 million so far. The Exxon Valdez was 11 million gallons.

And what makes matters worse is that there is no quick fix for the problem.  Oil could be leaking for months.

The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn't really a spill: It‘s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker, which might empty in hours or days.

"Everything about it is unprecedented," said geochemist Christopher Reddy, an oil-spill expert and head of the Coastal Ocean Institute at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "All our knowledge is based on a one-shot event…. With this, we don't know when it's going to stop."

Accidents have occurred before in which oil has gushed from damaged wells, he said. But he knew of none in water so deep.

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