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Does Gulf oil spill require the mother of all solutions?

Marine Corps adviser suggests an explosive end to the BP spill

Since the start of the Deepwater Horizon incident that claimed 11 lives and resulted in the single largest oil spill in U.S. history, people have had all kinds of reactions. Some have been trying to find out who is to blame while others have put their thoughts toward finding a solution to stop the leak. While BP has either been trying its darnedest or completely floundering, depending on whose opinion you ask, many have come up with their own solutions to the problem.

One such person is Franz Gayl, a civilian adviser to the Marine Corps. He says we should use the Mother of All Bombs on it.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, more commonly known by its backronym above, was, until recently, the largest conventional explosive ever made — meaning it uses a chemical reaction to create an explosion instead of a nuclear one. It is a little more than 30 feet long and houses 18,700 pounds of high explosives. Its explosive potential is about one-thousandth that of the atomic bomb used against Hiroshima, but it has a blast radius of 450 feet.

Now, the question lies in what it would do when detonated just above the leak, 5,000 feet below the surface. Gayl says the water pressure would help focus the blast downward and collapse every opening, sealing off the flow of oil. Others have said the explosion would only make things worse. Unfortunately, we may never know how it would really pan out unless officials decide to use it.

If they did decide to use it and it worked, it would fulfill a certain sense of symmetry, considering it was an explosion that started it all.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

Reader Comments

Wed, Jun 16, 2010 Colorado Springs, CO

Why not just put a mountain of rocks and dirt over the leak?

Wed, Jun 16, 2010 Susan Froebel Austin, Texas

I think setting off an explosive on top of that much natural gas is completely wrong. I think the chain reaction explosion it could start would completely destroy the integrity of the natural containment and, at worse case, could create a ripple effect that could cause blowouts at other rigs in the Gulf. Susan Froebel Chemical Engineer

Wed, Jun 16, 2010

BP and American Petroleum Institute are more interested in PR than solving the situation. People want results not public relations. Also President's speech was more of a long-winded sermon than an action plan. What should have been said is that BP, industry and government agencies involved have to provide deliverables and what the timelines will be. We have the technology to go those depths, to give better assessments and subsequently better solutions. (i.e. CIA used special ship to retrieve nuclear weapons more than 20 years ago).

Tue, Jun 15, 2010 Franzi

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