Terrifying New Scenario: An Oil-Spill Tsunami?

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A global risk specialist at the Huffington Post is warning that a vast reservoir of methane could unleash a terrifying tsunami at the site of the oil spill.

In a column posted today,  D.K. Matai speculates that a pool of gas at the site of the Deepwater Horizon spill could hold the potential to unleash a tsunami in the gulf. He cites documents from the original drilling of the well that suggest methane may exist in huge quantities beneath the surface of the drill site under tremendously high pressures. If the drill site compromises this bubble, the gas could be released in an explosion, creating a toxic cloud of fumes and generating a tsunami that could hit the gulf states.

Clouds of methane gas have already plagued the drill site, and submarines monitoring the damaged well have noted fissures in the sea floor that suggest continued high pressure beneath.

Matai cautions that this is a “low probability high impact scenario.” But he notes the oil drill site was dubbed Macondo, the cursed city in “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Gulf residents can surely hope their luck turns out to be a bit better (well, at least not any worse) and that this disaster scenario remains the stuff of fiction.