Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bonus Volcano special

And no, it's not Rosie.

Sludge has burst through an embankment built around Indonesia's disastrous "mud volcano," flooding a main road, an official said Tuesday. Officials said a large crack had formed in the dyke, which was designed to hold back the massive mud flow in East Java. "We have managed to repair the crack but the road is still impassable," said a government spokesman. "The road should be opened later tonight after we pump all the (muddy) water away," Muhammad Zulkarnain told AFP.
The embankment was built after the steaming crater, located near Indonesia's second-largest city of Surabaya, began spewing mud in May last year following exploratory gas drilling. The sludge has inundated some 600 hectares (1,500 acres), including many homes and factories, leaving 15,000 people homeless.

Indonesian experts have tried to halt the flow by plugging the crater with chains of concrete balls -- a bold plan that some say will not work.

The embankment also repeatedly gave way when officials tried unsuccessfully to channel the flow to a nearby river. Several local non-governmental groups have taken legal action against the local drilling firm, PT Lapindo Brantas, which apparently pierced a layer of strata under pressure at a depth of several thousand feet.