I am sure by now there is no soul on the planet unaware that for the past 80 some odd days oil has been freely flowing into the Gulf of Mexico after an accident on board of a British Petroleum charter already.
But due to the unconscionable media blackout being forced by British Petroleum (and a willing accomplice in the American government) there has been little news trickling out as just how bad things are, other than news of yet another failed rescue effort.
Night after night newscasters show video of a broken pipe spewing oil and show a few oil soaked critters. They speak of environmental damage and a futile cleanup effort, but they never seem to address what in my mind is one of the biggest issues going on with this whole Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
Before we continue, a little history...
Roughly 250,000,000 years ago, an enormous undersea methane bubble (believed to have come from what is now the Gulf of Mexico) exploded causing the atmosphere to be poisoned-killing 96% of all life on earth in the process. This explosion, known as the Permian extinction event is believed by scientists to be the greatest mass extinction event this planet has ever experienced.
55 million years after that, again in the Gulf of Mexico, another methane bubble exploded causing more mass extinctions during the late Paleocene thermal maximum.
It is from this very sea of methane that British Petroleum was trying to get oil from... the very same one twice before has brought mass extinction to this planet.
Finger on the button
If our planet's history has shown us anything, it has shown is that too much methane can kill us quickly.
Here's why we should worry.
The ever increasing levels of methane being found in the Gulf (as much as 40% of what is bubbling out of the oil gusher is said to be methane) has many scientists worry that the same series of catastrophic events that led to worldwide death back then may be happening again-and no known technology can stop it.
BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation may have triggered an irreversible, cascading geological Apocalypse that will culminate with the first mass extinction of life on Earth in many millions of years. The oil giant drilled down miles into a geologically unstable region and may have set the stage for the eventual premature release of a methane mega-bubble.
Repent! For the end is near...
I wish I could tell you that this little idea of the world being destroyed by a giant methane bubble and that all life will be scrubbed from the face of the earth because of it was something I dreamt up while taking a weed nap while watching Deep Impact, but I can't.
Smart people with grey beards and lab coats came up with the idea... all I'm doing is relaying it to you.
Northwestern University's Gregory Ryskin, a bio-chemical engineer, has a theory: The oceans periodically produce massive eruptions of explosive methane gas. He has documented the scientific evidence that such an event was directly responsible for the mass extinctions that occurred 55 million years ago.
Many geologists concur: "The consequences of a methane-driven oceanic eruption for marine and terrestrial life are likely to be catastrophic. Figuratively speaking, the erupting region "boils over," ejecting a large amount of methane and other gases (e.g., CO2, H2S) into the atmosphere, and flooding large areas of land. Whereas pure methane is lighter than air, methane loaded with water droplets is much heavier, and thus spreads over the land, mixing with air in the process (and losing water as rain). The air-methane mixture is explosive at methane concentrations between 5% and 15%; as such mixtures form in different locations near the ground and are ignited by lightning, explosions and conflagrations destroy most of the terrestrial life, and also produce great amounts of smoke and of carbon dioxide..."
The warning signs of an impending planetary catastrophe would be the appearance of large fissures or rifts splitting open the ocean floor, a rise in the elevation of the seabed, and the massive venting of methane and other gases into the surrounding water.
Such occurrences can lead to the rupture of the methane bubble containment—it can then permit the methane to breach the subterranean depths and undergo an explosive decompression as it catapults into the Gulf waters.
All three warning signs are documented to be occurring in the Gulf.
Drill Baby Drill
these warning signs- as well as the reality of an impending disaster being reported globally-are believed to be the reason that British Petroleum in the American government are keeping media away from the site.
But that's not stopping work on getting out...
Cracks and bulges are being reported along the ocean floor the Gulf of Mexico. Methane is now streaming through the porous, rocky seabed at an accelerated rate and gushing from the borehole of the first relief well. The EPA is on record that Rig #1 is releasing methane, benzene, hydrogen sulfide and other toxic gases. Workers there now wear advanced protection including state-of-the-art, military-issued gas masks.
Reports, filtering through from oceanologists and salvage workers in the region, state that the upper level stratum of the ocean floor is succumbing to greater and greater pressure. That pressure is causing a huge expanse of the seabed-estimated by some as spreading over thousands of square miles surrounding the BP wellhead-to bulge. Some claim the seabed in the region has risen an astounding 30 feet.
And it gets worse…
The fractured BP wellhead, site of the former Deepwater Horizon, has become the epicenter of frenetic attempts to quell the monstrous flow of methane.
The subterranean methane is pressurized at 100,000 pounds psi. According to Matt Simmons, an oil industry expert, the methane pressure at the wellhead has now skyrocketed to a terrifying 40,000 pounds psi.
Another well-respected expert, Dr. John Kessler of Texas A&M University has calculated that the ruptured well is spewing 60 percent oil and 40 percent methane. The normal methane amount that escapes from a compromised well is about 5 percent.
And as icing to this world fucking sundae of shit???
The NOAA research ship, Thomas Jefferson, is reporting the appearance of a jagged gash which runs along the Gulf of Mexico seabed for hundreds of feet (the gash believed to be 10 miles from the British Petroleum epicenter) is freely spewing hundreds upon thousands of gallons of oil and methane. Many believe that new fissures are turning up as far as 30 miles away (these fissures are believed to be behind the underwater oil plumes we've heard so much about). Measurements of the multiple oil plumes now appearing miles from the wellhead indicate that as much as a total of 124,000 barrels of oil are erupting into the Gulf waters daily-that’s about 5,208,000 gallons of oil per day.
And no, the cherry: Methane levels in the water are now calculated as being almost one million times higher than normal.
So... what's it all mean...
Mass death on the water
If the methane bubble—a bubble that could be as big as 20 miles wide—erupts with titanic force from the seabed into the Gulf, every ship, drilling rig and structure within the region of the bubble will immediately sink. All the workers, engineers, Coast Guard personnel and marine biologists participating in the salvage operation will die instantly.
Next, the ocean bottom will collapse, instantaneously displacing up to a trillion cubic feet of water or more and creating a towering supersonic tsunami annihilating everything along the coast and well inland. Like a thermonuclear blast, a high pressure atmospheric wave could precede the tidal wave flattening everything in its path before the water arrives.
When the roaring tsunami does arrive it will scrub away all that is left.
In short, a chemical cocktail of poison will kill everything that the explosion and ensuing tsunami don't.
How's that for a bright and sunny future...
But who knows.
While all the experts agree that a methane bubble would devastate life on this planet, because of their own theories on the matter there is not a universal agreement that the Gulf oil disaster will bring about an extinction event on this planet.
That said, what is for sure is that most experts in the know agree that if the world-changing event does occur it will happen suddenly and within the next 6 months.
So let's keep our fingers crossed, and maybe the worst thing to come from this whole mess is some oily shrimp and a few hundred dead birds. But if not, take heart in knowing that six months gives us enough time to get through the new season of Sons of Anarchy.
See, every cloud does have a silver lining.