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August 2008 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Date:7/23/2008

, which occurs mainly in the continental crust, was made available in great abundance to the living world courtesy of Himalaya-like mountains.


Triggering of the Lusi mud eruption: Earthquake versus drilling initiation

Mark Tingay et al., Dept. of Applied Geology, Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia 6102, Australia. Pages 639-642.

The Lusi mud volcano in East Java is a unique geological disaster that has erupted unabated for two years, displacing over 25,000 people and causing approximately 420 million dollars (US) in damage. However, there is still significant scientific and political debate about whether the Lusi eruption was naturally initiated by a remote earthquake two days prior to the eruption or was triggered by a drilling accident ("blowout") in the nearby Banjar Panji-1 gas well. Tingay et al. conduct the first quantitative analysis into the proposed triggering mechanismsman-made and natural. The authors examined all known mechanisms for remote triggering of the mud eruption by an earthquake and determined that the earthquake hypothesis is mechanically implausible. Tingay et al. then examined the drilling-induced theory and determined that the nearby Banjar Panji-1 well was drilled under unsafe conditions and with inadequate protective casing, which would have made drilling problems difficult to control. Furthermore, they found that the drilling problems that occurred in Banajr Panji-1 generated pressures sufficient to extensively fracture the subsurface rocks and create pathways for mud to erupt to the surface. Hence, Tingay et al. concluded that there are no known mechanisms that support the earthquake hypothesis and that the Lusi mud eruption was most likely triggered by a blowout in the Banjar Panji-1 well.


Continental stretching preceding the opening of the Drake Passage: Evidence from Tierra del Fuego

Matias Ghiglione et al., Depto. Ciencias Geologicas
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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