Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Report confirms drilling, not earthquake, caused Java mud volcano

09.06.2008
A two-year old mud volcano which is still spewing huge volumes of mud, has displaced more than 30,000 people and caused millions of dollars worth of damage was caused by the drilling of a gas exploration well, an international team of scientists has concluded.

The most detailed scientific analysis to date disproves the theory that an earthquake that happened two-days before the mud volcano erupted in East Java, Indonesia, was potentially to blame.

The report by British, American and Indonesian and Australian scientists is published this week in the academic journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. It outlines and analyses a detailed record of operational incidents on the drilling of a gas exploration well, Banjar-Panji-1*.

Lead author, Prof Richard Davies of Durham University, UK, published research in January 2007 which argued the drilling was most likely to blame for the eruption of the ‘Lusi’ mud volcano on May 29 2006.

This theory was challenged by the company that drilled the well and some experts who argued that the Yogyakarta earthquake two days before the eruption, which had an epicentre 250km from the mud volcano, was the cause.

Graduate student Maria Brumm and Prof Michael Manga of University of California, Berkeley undertook a systematic study to test the claims that the eruption was caused by this earthquake. They found that none of the ways earthquakes trigger eruptions could have played a role at Lusi.

Prof Michael Manga, of University of California, Berkeley, said: “We have known for hundreds of years that earthquakes can trigger eruptions. In this case, the earthquake was simply too small and too far away.”

The new report concludes the effect of the earthquake was minimal because the change in pressure underground due to the earthquake would have been tiny. Instead, scientists are “99 per cent” certain drilling operations were to blame.

Prof Davies, of Durham University’s Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems (CeREES) explained: “We show that the day before the mud volcano started there was a huge ‘kick’ in the well, which is an influx of fluid and gas into the wellbore. We show that after the kick the pressure in the well went beyond a critical level.”

“This resulted in the leakage of the fluid from the well and the rock formations to the surface – a so called ‘underground blowout’. This fluid picked up mud during its accent and Lusi was born.

He said chances of controlling this pressure would have been increased if there was more protective casing in the borehole.

Prof Davies added: “We are more certain than ever that the Lusi mud volcano is an unnatural disaster and was triggered by drilling the Banjar-Panji-1 well.”

Prof Manga added: “While this is a most unfortunate disaster, it will leave us with a better understanding of the birth, life and death of a volcano.”

Lusi is still flowing at 100,000 cubic metres per day, enough to fill 53 Olympic swimming pools.

Recent research which Prof Davies was involved in showed it is collapsing by up to three metres overnight and could subside to depths of more than 140 metres, having a significant environmental impact on the surrounding area for years to come.

* The well is operated by oil and gas company Lapindo Brantas, which has confirmed the published data is correct.

Claire Whitelaw | alfa
Further information:
http://www.dur.ac.uk/news/allnews/?itemno=6575
http://www.durham.ac.uk/news

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Volcanoes and glaciers combine as powerful methane producers
20.11.2018 | Lancaster University

nachricht Massive impact crater from a kilometer-wide iron meteorite discovered in Greenland
15.11.2018 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Meta-surface corrects for chromatic aberrations across all kinds of lenses

21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>