Indonesia mud volcano may last 30 years: expert

Jun 18, 2009
File satellite picture shows the "mud volcano" and its surrounding area in Sidoarjo, East Java. Indonesia's devastating 'mud volcano' could keep spewing for the next 30 years, filling the equivalent of 50 Olympic-size swimming pools every day, a top Australian expert warned.

Indonesia's devastating 'mud volcano' could keep spewing for the next 30 years, filling the equivalent of 50 Olympic-size swimming pools every day, a top Australian expert warned.

Curtin University of Technology's doctor Mark Tingay, who has just returned from the disaster site in East Java, said about 100,000 people remained under threat from subsidence three years after the volcano first erupted.

"In effect, the whole region around the vent hole is sinking by about two to five centimetres each day due to the rising mud level, causing more damage to suburban villages and triggering frequent bursts of flammable gas around homes," he said, according to a Geological Society of Australia statement.

Tingay added that damage caused by the mud, which has been devouring land and homes in Sidoarjo district since May 2, 2006, was estimated at about 4.9 billion dollars.

The volcano has buried 12 villages, killed 13 people, displaced more than 42,000 residents and wiped out 800 hectares (1,977 acres) of densely populated farming and industrial land.

He said the volcano could produce enough scalding mud to fill Sydney Harbour twice over in the next 30 years but admitted the time-scale was only an estimate.

"The high flow-rate may only continue for two to three years, or it might continue for hundreds of years," Tingay said.

"And like other , Lusi will probably be in existence for thousands of years, even if its flow-rate subsides," he added.

Australian oil and gas giant Santos, which was drilling in the area when the volcano erupted, by September had declared previsions of just 88.5 million dollars to cover the clean-up cost.

In December, Santos exited the project and said it would pay an Indonesian firm 22.5 million US dollars "to support long-term mud management efforts" at the site.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Likely near-simultaneous earthquakes complicate seismic hazard planning for Italy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Erupting mud volcano

Feb 02, 2007

University of Aberdeen research supports the suggestion that the eruption of the Indonesian mud volcano Lusi, which has been erupting for more than 200 days, was caused by drilling for hydrocarbons.

Geologists blame gas drilling for Indonesia mud disaster

Oct 30, 2008

A resounding vote of international petroleum geologists from around the globe concluded that the mud volcano was triggered by drilling of a nearby gas exploration well. This may have implications for compensation ...

Recommended for you

NASA radar system surveys Napa Valley quake area

21 hours ago

NASA scientists are conducting an airborne survey of earthquake fault displacements in the Napa Valley area of Northern California using a sophisticated radar system developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, ...

Aging Africa

Aug 29, 2014

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

NASA animation shows Hurricane Marie winding down

Aug 29, 2014

NOAA's GOES-West satellite keeps a continuous eye on the Eastern Pacific and has been covering Hurricane Marie since birth. NASA's GOES Project uses NOAA data and creates animations and did so to show the end of Hurricane ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (2) Jun 18, 2009
Poor Santos, talk about a backfire. I wonder if the $22.5 mill. will cover the clean-up or if the fuel/energy giants yet again gets away with it.
not rated yet Jun 18, 2009
wow, it was their fault?
not rated yet Jun 18, 2009