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: New study confirms water vapor as global warming amplifier

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

New research reveals Pele is powerful, even in the sky

2 hours ago

One might assume that a tropical storm moving through volcanic smog (vog) would sweep up the tainted air and march on, unchanged. However, a recent study from atmospheric scientists at the University of Hawai'i ...

Image: Wildfires continue near Yellowknife, Canada

3 hours ago

The wildfires that have been plaguing the Northern Territories in Canada and have sent smoke drifting down to the Great Lakes in the U.S. continue on. NASA's Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image ...

Excavated ship traced to Colonial-era Philadelphia

4 hours ago

Four years ago this month, archeologists monitoring the excavation of the former World Trade Center site uncovered a ghostly surprise: the bones of an ancient sailing ship. Tree-ring scientists at Columbia ...

Tropical tempests take encouragement from environment

5 hours ago

Mix some warm ocean water with atmospheric instability and you might have a recipe for a cyclone. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Atlanta Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory ...

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