Saturday, August 11, 2012

The sinkhole, the pipeline & the Beaufort Gyre

There's been a lot of Earth Shaking news the last week.

Down in Louisiana, the earth has been caving in. A giant sinkhole in Assumption Parish seems to be a result of drilling all over a salt dome. There's a bunch of other stuff stored in the dome, including 1.5 million barrels of butane. The gang at TheOilDrum is keeping calm:

AlanfromBigEasy on August 10, 2012 - 11:17am

I would NOT want to be 6 miles (10 km) from 1.5 million barrels of butane when pressure is reduced.

I am trying to think through the physics of a phase change if, say, a 2 or 3 meter hole developed with 1 bar (atmosphere) pressure. Ground temperatures are higher than needed to transform butane to gas at 1 bar. That delta in temperature could provide the energy for phase change (I would have to look up tables, and not enough time ATM)
My first guess is an "explosive" expansion that would rapidly enlarge the hole. If no immediate spark, a rapidly enlarging ball of butane would develop with the surface of the ball (and some distance in) would be between the upper and lower explosive limits. (Distant memory - butane has a wide band between LEL & UEL).
Something close to a fuel-air bomb could develop in XX seconds if there is no immediate spark. The results could rival Texas City and Halifax for the largest non-nuclear explosion.

Best Hopes for delaying the well,

Of course, the volume of NGL's in a fuel-air bomb is tiny compared to the potential volumes they are talking about.

Comments top Even visiting the Parish, I would recommend staying at least 15 to 18 miles from the sinkhole.
That is far enough away to very likely survive a, say 100 kt explosion with no more than minor injuries.

Best Hopes for All of Assumption Parish


PS: Start pumping that butane out *NOW*

In Mississippi, the good old boys have been running a railroad - kids to prison. I'm not entirely sure how the money works on this one, but the DOJ has had enough.

Furthermore, children on probation are routinely arrested and incarcerated for allegedly violating their probation by committing minor school infractions, such as dress code violations, which result in suspensions

Anyhow, the full letter is at
Unfortunately, the DOJ posted a crappy pdf of an image & didn't even bother to OCR it. Still, at least they're pretending to care about (black) kids getting rolled by the (white) machine.

And on top of the world, there was the Storm of The Century, so far. It blew for most of the week, and decimated the last sea ice below 80 degrees north.

The result is, 2007's record low ice extent  - and 2011s volume & area records - are dead meat.

Anyhow, just to remind you, that once we're rid of ZombieEyedGrannyStarvers, the real problems they exist to ignore will still be with us.


VermontK said...

Speaking of ignoring problems, do we think the jistorically drought-ridden Midwest will vote for the party that denies the existence of global warming in November?
Yeah, they probably will. Democrats kill unborn babies 'n stuff and want to take their guns.

VermontK said...

Oops meant to say historically, not jistorically. Darn gingers, er, fingers.

Downpuppy said...

We could be at the point where they go from denying global warming to blaming in on the scientists.

Once you've left reality behind, it can take more than one face slap to bring you back.