Mud Volcano Was Man-Made, New Evidence Confirms
This Wired.com article discusses the findings of Richard Davies, director of the Durham Energy Institute and co-author of a new paper in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology. The results of his analysis is that the Lusi mud volcano in Sidoarjo, Indonesia was indeed caused by the drilling company when they pulled their drill out from an unstable hole. Since its first eruption May 29, 2006, Lusi has dumped out 100,000 tons of mud a day. It now covers almost 3 square miles to a depth of 65 feet, and displaced thirty thousand people. The drilling company maintains that an earthquake that occurred 175 miles away on May 27, 2006 is the real cause of the mud volcano, although there is plenty evidence to the contrary.
One of the things I find interesting about this story is that both scientists working for the drill company and independent scientists have papers about this very issue in the journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology. The scientists working for the company all find that the real cause of the volcano was the earthquake, which in turn means that their company should not be held financially responsible. The independent scientists all find flaws with that reasoning and claim that the earthquake could not have been the cause. Clearly, the drill company scientists have every reason to be biased. If their results indicate the drill company was at all responsible, not only would they probably be out of a job, but they would be setting the company up for a huge financial burden. So how can we as a reader, or the journal for that matter, look at this article objectively? It is hard to see it as just another scientific exploration and discussion of a dataset. Furthermore, I am curious if this article mentions that the authors work for the company in question. Surely that disclosure should be made somewhere where the reader can easily find it, shouldn't it?