Paper: TSUNAMI RUMORS — Drilling near methane deposits “can turn that solid methane into a liquid, leaving the ocean floor unstable” says scientist
July 21st, 2010
Scientists from St. Petersburg find high methane readings near oil disaster site, St. Petersburg Times, July 21, 2010:
Deposits of methane gas… because they are so deep beneath the ocean, have frozen into icy crystals.
Disturbing those deposits — say, by drilling an oil well through them — can turn that solid methane into a liquid, leaving the ocean floor unstable, explained [Carol Lutken of the University of Mississippi]. …
Worse, the freed gas may explode… There have been rumors that a similar methane explosion could cause a tsunami, a concern that government officials say is unfounded. …
Generally the oil industry tries to avoid methane areas during drilling for safety reasons. But the U.S. Energy Department wants to find a way to harvest fuel from those methane deposits, Lutken said.