Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 05 Jun 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes

Bad Guys

Gulf Oil Leak May Be Bigger than BP Says

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill
© AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill pools against the Louisiana coast along Barataria Bay Tuesday, June 8, 2010.
New Orleans, Louisiana - While BP is capturing more oil from its blown-out well with every passing day, scientists on a team analyzing the flow said Tuesday that the amount of crude still escaping into the Gulf of Mexico may be considerably greater than what the government and the company have claimed.

Their assertions - combined with BP's rush to build a bigger cap and its apparent difficulty in immediately processing all the oil being collected - have only added to the impression that the company is still floundering in dealing with the catastrophe.

The cap that was put on the ruptured well last week collected about 620,000 gallons of oil on Monday and another 330,000 from midnight to noon on Tuesday and funneled it to a ship at the surface, said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man on the crisis. That would mean the cap is capturing better than half of the oil, based on the government's estimate that around 600,000 to 1.2 million gallons a day are leaking from the bottom of the sea.

Bizarro Earth

Gulf Oil Leak Causing Huge Upheaval In Marine Ecology

© Samantha Joye
Not looking good
As oil continues to leak out of the collapsed Deepwater Horizon well head, researchers are beginning to collect data on how it is changing life in the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier today, Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia in Athens spoke of what they are finding. She said that methane concentrations in a giant underwater plume emanating from the well head are as much as 10,000 times higher than background levels. The consequences of this for life in the gulf are unknown.

Joye was one of the first scientists to discover deep-water plumes emanating from the ongoing spill and recently returned from a two-week research expedition on board the research vessel F. G. Walton Smith. "It's an infusion of oil and gas that has never been seen before, certainly not in human history," she said earlier today, as she described her preliminary findings.

The plume is more than 24 kilometres long, 8 kilometres wide and 90 metres thick, and stretches from 700 to 1300 metres below the surface south-south-west of the collapsed Deepwater Horizon well head.

Bizarro Earth

US: Seniors Prepare for 'The Big One'

Seal Beach - Although experts say it will be sometime in the next 20-plus years, seniors in Leisure World want to prepare now for the big earthquake that has been all but guaranteed by experts to hit Southern California.

Residents in the community have set up the Planning for Emergency Preparedness Foundation to help gather supplies, draw up emergency response plans and offer residents survival tips for when a major earthquake hits.

The group is holding its first meeting on Wednesday, which will include David Bowman, chair of the Geological Sciences Department at Cal State Fullerton as the keynote speaker.

"In this major regional quake, police, fire, the Red Cross and other emergency services will be spread too thin to get to us for a minimum of a week," said Scott McIntyre, the group's vice president. "They are telling us we must be ready to take care of ourselves. We would be foolish not to prepare."

The U.S. Geological Survey has predicted the southern part of the San Andreas Fault, which runs 100 miles from San Bernardino to San Diego, has been quiet for nearly 300 years, according to National Geographic Magazine.

Bizarro Earth

Philippines: Taal Volcano on Alert Level 2

Manila - The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Tuesday raised the alert level status of Taal Volcano from alert level 1 to alert level 2 as it is showing signs of possible eruption.

On its website, Phivolcs said it has noticed "anomalous change" since the last week of April.

Among its observations were increased and intensifying volcanic earthquakes, including a low frequency type volcanic earthquake detected on June 2; raised temperature in the main crater lake; raised ground temperatures; intensified steaming of the main crater; and inflating of the volcano.

"The recorded high frequency volcanic earthquakes could be the result of active rock fracturing associated with magma intrusion beneath the volcano. The fractures served as passageways through which hot gases from the intruding magma could escape into the main crater lake," the institute said.

Bizarro Earth

Well cap captures more oil, but outlook's gloomy

A dead turtle floats on a pool of oil
© AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
A dead turtle floats on a pool of oil from the Deepwater Horizon

New Orleans, Louisiana - The cap on the blown-out well in the Gulf is capturing a half-million gallons a day, or anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of the oil spewing from the bottom of the sea, officials said Monday. But the hopeful report was offset by a warning that the farflung slick has broken up into hundreds and even thousands of patches of oil that may inflict damage that could persist for years.

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the crisis, said the breakup has complicated the cleanup.

"Dealing with the oil spill on the surface is going to go on for a couple of months," he said at a briefing in Washington. But "long-term issues of restoring the environment and the habitats and stuff will be years."


Senator: Deepwater Well Integrity May Be Shot, Meaning Oil Could Be Leaking Straight Up From The Seabed

This may be the real nightmare scenario in the Gulf. Some have speculated that the inner integrity of the Deepwater well could be blown (not just the top) and that oil could be leaking out from the side, making it hard to imagine how you might go about plugging the thing.

On MSNBC today, Senator Bill Nelson said he'd heard such report, and is looking into such things. Let's hope not. The following clip comes from FireDogLake.

Cow Skull

Scientists Find Evidence of 2nd Oil Plume

oil explosion
© U.S. Coast Guard
Tampa, Florida - University of South Florida scientists say they discovered a second oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico arising from BP's broken oil well on the gulf floor.

The scientists concluded that microscopic oil droplets are forming deep-water oil plumes, CNN reported Monday. The second recently discovered plume was in the northeastern gulf; the first plume was found by Mississippi scientists in May.

"These hydrocarbons are from depth and not associated with sinking, degraded oil but associated with the source of (BP's) Deepwater Horizon wellhead," USF Chemical Oceanographer David Hollander. "We've taken molecular isotopic approaches, which is like a fingerprint on a smoking gun."

Bizarro Earth

All you need to know about the hurricane season

© NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
We could be due for a rerun of hurricane Rita
The North Atlantic hurricane season officially began on 1 June, and the US National Hurricane Center expects it to be a busy one. It forecasts a 70 per cent chance of eight to 14 storms reaching hurricane strength, and three to seven becoming dangerous "major" hurricanes of category 3 and above. Reaching the upper end of that range would make 2010 one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. What does that mean for residents of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US, worried about oil spreading from the Deepwater Horizon blowout?

Wasn't 2005 "a once in a century" hurricane year? Why are a similar number of storms forecast this year?

If hurricane numbers were purely random, there would be a 1 in 100 chance of a hundred-year storm being followed the next year by a second hundred-year storm. However, the number of hurricanes is far from random.

Hurricane formation in the north Atlantic and the Caribbean is linked to a cycle called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. In a cycle lasting 20 to 40 years, sea-surface temperatures from Greenland to the equator rise and fall by about 0.5 °C. During the warm phases, about twice as many weak tropical storms grow into severe hurricanes as during the cooler phases.

The last rise in sea-surface temperatures and hurricane numbers came in the mid-1990s, so the average number of storms now is above the long-term average, and well above the relatively low numbers from the 1960s to the mid-1990s. The number of hurricanes was higher than average from the 1940s to the early 1960s. Those shifts roughly kept pace with the sea-surface temperature cycle.


Vanuatu's Volcanoes have Awakened: A Journey To The Most Active Volcanoes In The World

Bizarro Earth

Guatemala Raises Tropical Storm Death Toll to 172

Guatemalan officials say the death toll from Tropical Storm Agatha has risen to 172.

National disaster agency spokesman David de Leon says 101 people are still missing in the country and 148 were injured.

The updated toll released Sunday means at least 205 people in Central America were killed by Agatha, whose heavy rains unleashed floods and mudslides last weekend.

Guatemala's Ministry of Communications say the storm also washed out 24 bridges and damaged 19 more. Some 7,000 homes were destroyed.

Agatha also caused about $1 million in damage at the Mayan archaeological site Quirigua, 130 miles (208 kilometers) northeast of Guatemala City.