Scientists Dispel Oil Rig Disaster Myths

WASHINGTON, July 1 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say worst-case scenarios circulating on the Internet about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill have little scientific basis.

Web sites are awash with disaster predictions like collapsing sea beds, oily rain or oil-contaminated seafood, the Christian Science Monitor reported Thursday.

One scenario has the earth around the wellhead sinking and cracking, creating gushers that would never stop or giant exploding methane gas bubbles, events scientists say can’t happen.

“The idea that there could be a catastrophic cave in, or a methane gas explosion, that’s not a reasonable worry,” said Gary Byerly, a professor of geology at Louisiana State University. “The rock formations on top of this oil deposit have enough strength that nothing like that is going to happen.”

Byerly admits that oil and gas do leak from natural cracks in the gulf floor.

“That has been going on for tens of thousands of years, and petroleum and natural gas will find any kind of fault to come to the surface,” he said.

A recent YouTube video purportedly showing oily rain falling in a New Orleans suburb has also been debunked by scientists.

“I don’t think what is supposedly shown in the video could happen,” said Alberto Mestas-Nunez, a professor of oceanography at Texas A&M University. “Oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, and I don’t see how these separate components could evaporate and then recombine in the atmosphere and come down as something like oil.”

Regarding contaminated seafood, experts note that much of the seafood sold in the United States is imported or comes from Alaska, and multiple inspection systems ensure that gulf seafood is being caught in clean water.

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Categorized | Natural Gas, Other
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