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.


  • 2020 Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards - https://governmentinnovationawards.com

    21 Public Sector Innovation award winners

    These projects at the federal, state and local levels show just how transformative government IT can be.

  • Federal 100 Awards
    cheering federal workers

    Nominations for the 2021 Fed 100 are now being accepted

    The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31.

Stay Connected