Doomsday: Could BP Spill Kill All Life on Earth?

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Could the Deepwater Horizon spill cause a massive eruption of methane that destroys civilization as we know it, bet-hedging question mark?

The problem with journalists is that most of us are trained as journalists and not, say, economists or physicists. To a certain extent we need to take experts’ word for it that they are correct. So, some writers examine the research of scientists at Northwestern and Texas A&M and conclude that the BP oil spill may cause the world to end, who are we to argue with them?

According to the great minds at Helium, it might be time for NewsFeed to start spending a lot more time with our loved ones:

“BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation may have triggered an irreversible, cascading geological Apocalypse that will culminate with the first mass extinction of life on Earth in many millions of years.

“The oil giant drilled down miles into a geologically unstable region and may have set the stage for the eventual premature release of a methane mega-bubble.”

Helium’s theory goes like this: Underneath the seabed lie massive deposits of methane gas. In prehistoric times, an undersea bubble of this gas erupted, causing the great Permian extinction of 251 million BC. 55 million years later, it happened again, with similar results. If a similar eruption were about to happen, there would be three ominous signs: large undersea gashes in the sea floor, an increase in pressure causing an elevated seabed and a steady stream of methane bleeding out into the ocean. All three have been reported in the area around the Deepwater Horizon spill, causing some to think that a 20-mile-wide bubble of methane may soon emerge from the ocean floor, pop and then kill us all.

This is news that goes beyond ‘spooky scary’ into ‘start-reevaluating-your-life scary.’ Contemplating the prospect of either being swallowed by a gargantuan tsunami or poisoned by a cloud of methane, NewsFeed is slightly ashamed to admit that our first thought was “We should have had way more house parties this summer.” But soon, an odd sort of perspective emerged — It doesn’t matter where LeBron James plays! It doesn’t matter who triumphs in the 2010 House races! There will be no next season; there will be no midterm elections.

But fortunately for every other person on earth, the death of all living things may not come as quickly as feared. Although one thing us journalists are good at is creating an ambiguous ‘he-said, she-said’ scenario with two opposing views, ABC News has resisted the temptation and has taken a stand against the methane bubble rumors! In news that made NewsFeed breathe a sigh of relief, the network has found a credible source to say very politely that the methane theory is a crazy crackpot fear. According to Gary Byerly, a geologist at Louisiana State University:

“The idea that there could be a catastrophic cave in, or a methane gas explosion, that’s not a reasonable worry. […] The rock formations on top of this oil deposit have enough strength that nothing like that is going to happen.”

Well, that was close. Time to start ignoring our loved ones again!