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Enough lollygagging: Nuke the Gulf oil spill!

The Soviet Union employed the nuclear option to stop runaway gas wells. So what could possibly go wrong?

By Andrew Leonard, How the World Works @ salon.com


... This is just speculation, but I'm also guessing that we don't have a whole lot of data about what happens to the geology of a deepwater oil reservoir when a nuclear bomb is detonated in the general vicinity. I'd hate to be the president who authorized a nuclear strike against an oil well and discover that the blast created numerous fractures in the seafloor that allowed even more oil and gas to escape. It seems to me that one might want to hold such a tactic in reserve as a last resort.

And then there are the worst-case scenarios -- such as the possibility that a nuclear explosion might ignite a chain reaction of methane hydrate eruptions that could result in the most horrific global catastrophe since the Permian extinction...

Wheeeeeee!

by Magnifico on Thu Jun 17th, 2010 at 03:18:43 PM EST
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the worst-case scenarios -- such as the possibility that a nuclear explosion might ignite a chain reaction of methane hydrate eruptions that could result in the most horrific global catastrophe since the Permian extinction...

Call it the BP Extinction Event. The quantity and proximity of methane hydrate deposits would surely be a consideration. Does anyone know of the relative ages of the oil deposits and the Chicxulub crater? The formation of that crater was surely vastly more catastrophic than any sub-kiloton nuke thousands of feet below the sea floor could be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 17th, 2010 at 04:48:55 PM EST
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_ The quantity and proximity of methane hydrate deposits would surely be a consideration._

Watch this video: there's no way to know with sufficient confidence.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 17th, 2010 at 05:54:37 PM EST
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The whole "covering the globe in a 50 m thick layer" bit is cute and all, but if it's sufficiently volatile to go boom at the slightest provocation, it's unlikely to survive long enough to be spread that far. It takes about a year for gas to from the Northern Pacific to Greenland, and another year to go to Antarctica (vice versa for an eruption on the Southern Hemisphere).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 18th, 2010 at 02:51:35 PM EST
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