"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 26, 2010

The Fire This Time

"Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are 'astonishingly high.'

Kessler's crew took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP's broken wellhead.

'There is an incredible amount of methane in there,' Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing.

In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.

'We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations' in some areas, Kessler said."


"More than 12 months ago some geologists rang the warning bell that the Deepwater Horizon exploratory rig might have been erected directly over a huge underground reservoir of methane.

Documents from several years ago indicate that the subterranean geologic formation may contain the presence of a huge methane deposit...

...By some geologists' estimates the methane could be a massive 15 to 20 mile toxic and explosive bubble trapped for eons under the Gulf sea floor. In their opinion, the explosive destruction of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead was an accident just waiting to happen...

...Yet the disaster that followed the loss of the rig pales by comparison to the apocalyptic disaster that may come.

According to worried geologists, the first signs that the methane may burst its way through the bottom of the ocean would be fissures or cracks appearing on the ocean floor near the damaged well head.

Evidence of fissures opening up on the seabed have been captured by the robotic submersibles working to repair and contain the ruptured well. Smaller, independent plumes have also appeared outside the nearby radius of the bore hole itself.

According to some geological experts, BP's operations set into motion a series of events that may be irreversible...

...With the emerging evidence of fissures, the quiet fear now is the methane bubble rupturing the seabed and exploding into the Gulf waters. If the bubble escapes, every ship, drilling rig and structure within the region of the bubble will instantaneously sink. All the workers, engineers, Coast Guard personnel and marine biologists measuring the oil plumes' advance will instantly perish.

As horrible as that is, what would follow is an event so potentially horrific that it equals in its fury the Indonesian tsunami that killed more than 600,000, or the destruction of Pompeii by Mt. Vesuvius.

The ultimate Gulf disaster, however, would make even those historical horrors pale by comparison. If the huge methane bubble breaches the seabed, it will erupt with an explosive fury similar to that experienced during the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens in the Pacific Northwest. A gas gusher will surge upwards through miles of ancient sedimentary rock—layer after layer—past the oil reservoir. It will explode upwards propelled by 50 tons psi, burst through the cracks and fissures of the compromised sea floor, and rupture miles of ocean bottom with one titanic explosion.

The burgeoning methane gas cloud will surface, killing everything it touches, and set off a supersonic tsunami with the wave traveling somewhere between 400 to 600 miles per hour.

While the entire Gulf coastline is vulnerable, the state most exposed to the fury of a supersonic wave towering 150 to 200 feet or more is Florida. The Sunshine State only averages about 100 feet above sea level with much of the coastline and lowlands and swamps near zero elevation..."


Chew on that, friends and strangers.

A company knowingly risks the truly catastrophic because an infinitesimally small number of very wealth people might have the opportunity to get a whole lot wealthier.

They did it eyes wide open.

If you cannot identify these people as the enemy, you deserve what you get.

You really do.

The rest of us won't deserve it, however the future unfolds, but we will still have to suffer it.

A pox - a truly horrible pox - on all their houses...

h/t to John Smart


"...Dr. Robert Bea, Director of UC Berkeley's Catastrophic Risk Management Center, reported to AP that leaked BP documents reveal that dislodged methane hydrate, which had contaminated recently poured cement, was the culprit in the Gulf disaster. There are tests to detect leaky cement, but there is no record of Halliburton, the cement contractor, using them. Deepwater Horizon workers told Bea that blasts of natural gas had troubled the rig in the weeks and days before the explosion, one so forceful that operations were shut down to avoid igniting the fumes.

At last Wednesday's congressional hearings, Rep Henry Waxman reported that on the day of the explosion, the rig failed a critical pressure test, indicating high gas levels in the well bore. Nonetheless, eager to move to lucrative production and move off of the expensive ($500,000 a day) rental rig, two hours before the explosion BP removed heavy mud (expensive, reusable drilling fluid) from the well and replaced it with sea water, creating the perfect low-pressure environment for the methane hydrate pockets in the cement to turn from solid to gas, and shoot up.

In its repair efforts BP has remained inattentive to deepwater drilling's natural nemesis -- methane hydrate. The 4-storey container lowered to the ocean floor to trap the gushing oil quickly clogged with the icy compound. At the very spot where methane crystals started their ascent only a week before, from a seabed known to contain a good portion of the world's methane hydrates, how could they have expected otherwise?..."


Let's wash, rinse and repeat:

With foreknowledge.
And in collusion.
With its partners.
With a blind eye.
Turned by the State.
A known.
A fucking known.
Methane pocket.
The explosion.
Or explosive surfacing of which.
Trigger a boundary event.
Doing all this.
So that those who run it.
And those it patronizes.
Can live.
Penultimate excess.
Repeat again - 
They willingly risked.
A geological catastrophe.
So that.
They could have luxury.
And the like.
At hand.
And wherever.
They please.

That is all...


"The evidence is growing stronger and stronger that there is substantial damage beneath the sea floor. Indeed, it appears that BP officials themselves have admitted to such damage. This has enormous impacts on both the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf, and the prospects for quickly stopping the leak this summer."


See also this and this.

h/t ICH


Anonymous said...


Vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 23-25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, are locked in the deep sea and in the frozen soils of Siberia, Northern Europe, and North America, but warming could trigger rapid thawing that would release billions of tons into the atmosphere.

"The potential consequences of large amounts of methane entering the atmosphere, from thawing permafrost or destabilized ocean hydrates, would lead to abrupt changes in the climate that would likely be irreversible. We must not cross that threshold.

Jack Crow said...

Excellent work, anon.

I wish I'd been aware of this article before I'd composed my own.

Some of the sources I went looking for, for an update, are already contained therein.

Well done.

I was just tripping through my blog list, and found it at Smart's place.

I don't really scare easily (which bears no relationship, at this point, to how easily I anger) - but this is the real deal, no?



Unknown said...

Jack, Thanks for this, really scary and interesting to say the least and I hope they are wrong about the methane bubble. This actually goes back to 1995 and Bill Clinton who urged oil companies to drill at depths up to a mile like the Deep Horizon. Ironically under Bush there was less drilling in the Gulf than under Obama who as you know is responsible for the blowout. Obama cleared the way for BP to drill at that particular site, in fact he and Salazar or Saladhead or whatever his name is bypassed the courts in order to allow BP to drill by giving them a waiver on an environmental impact study. I’d love to tie this around Obama’s neck like a rotten, dead, stinking chicken and force him to wear it until it rotted off. What a complete and total asshole.

Jack Crow said...


You're going to love this, then:


Sixty page report. 2009. Warning of exactly this outcome.

Shelved by the MMS.

I hope the methane explosion is an off chance, as well. But, setting aside the truly catastrophic - we must somehow content ourselves with the merely devastating, since all that methane already pouring into the Gulf threatens - and this follows without exaggeration or hyperbole - to still kill of most of the Gulf ecosystems.



RedPhillip said...

Jack of Crows,

Of further interest may be Dmitry Orlov's three most recent essays: An American Chernobyl (http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/05/american-chernobyl.html), Lost Leaders (http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/05/lost-leaders.html), and Checkmate (http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/06/checkmate.html).

Jack Crow said...

Red Phillip,

I've read the American Chernobyl essay - but much obliged for the other two.



augustus818 said...

Being someone who lives in Florida, I hope to jeebus this doesn't happen. It's bad enough without the potential for an American Chernobyl But if it does, and I survive, I'm sharpening my knives for serious headhunting.