I was sent the video HERE a bit back, which gave me pause. It was sent by a family member who at least grants plausibility to 9/11 conspiracies and some other, shall we say, "fringe" theories about various topics.

Some of the claims about such a doomsday scenario in this video are:

  • The Gulf of Mexico oil spill was not/will not be completed with cleanup efforts; the impending disaster may have only begun
  • Ships using GPS and depth finders have discovered a bubble under the Gulf floor between 15-20 miles across, 10s of feet high
  • The well was 22,500 feet deep with pressures of ~100,000 psi, so high they cannot be contained by current technology
  • If a bubble emerged from this well, it would sink ships for miles around via cavitation
  • Such a bubble would create a tsunami traveling at 400-600 mph

My key questions:

  • Is there such a bubble and is it a realistic threat?

  • Is it even possible to identify a gas bubble underneath the ocean floor via GPS and depth finders?

For reference, some things that flagged my skepticism with this video were:

  • The gentleman producing the claims stated that he has very credible inside sources from BP and the US government, but will not mention any of their names
  • The experts this gentleman refers to are said to have "been way ahead of the game" and predicted the spill much in advance -- I am not aware of anyone who successfully predicted this event
  • I found THIS calculator which provides a pressure of about 10,000 psi for a depth of 22,500 feet; such pressures are easily dealt with today
  • Moreover, googling "pressure vessel rated for 100,000 psi" reveals that THIS company had such a containment unit in 1964 as just one example of showing that we can handle such pressures -- perhaps not the size of 15 miles in diameter, but the implication in the video was that such pressures are so unthinkably high that we can't even deal with them on any level
  • He states that there are over 40,000 oil wells in the Gulf; I found two sources that put it at least an order of magnitude lower, HERE with the US Energy Information Administration putting the 2009 count around 2,000 (hard to imagine a 38,000 increase in one year when the video was created) and HERE with an NOAA aerial image showing ~4,000 counted wells

Note: These sources and a bit of googling reveals that this might have begun circulating around a year ago. My apologies if I'm the only one who never got the memo that it's been debunked (if it has). Nevertheless, I still thought I'd post the question for future reference for others, and for an opportunity to learn of some solid sources on this claim.

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    TL;DR but +1 for excellent on-topic question. – user5341 Jun 8 '11 at 17:50
  • @DVK: I rearranged things a bit and removed some superfluous wording in an attempt to improve readability as well as asking the key questions sooner and putting my side comments re. why I was skeptical later on for those stopping by for a quick read. – Hendy Jun 8 '11 at 17:56
  • Your 10,000 psi at a depth of 22,500 feet is the pressure exerted by a column of water 22,500 feet high. It's not available to do work at the bottom of the sea any more than the 15 psi we experience from the atmosphere can be made to break through doors and create havoc up here on the surface. – user951 Jun 8 '11 at 20:20
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    The 100,000 psi figure cannot even be obtained by using the density of rock under the sea floor (typically 2.5) in the calculation. That'd max out at about 25,000 psi, and still be unsuitable to perform work or cause chaos. That leads me to belive they're really talking about an actual gas bubble at a pressure well above what you'd expect to initiate fracking in sedimentary rocks. Fracking: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing – user951 Jun 8 '11 at 20:33
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    Yes, and if he's talking about a bubble pressurized to 100,000 psi over the pressure down there, he's got to explain how the formation rock resists being fragmented by it. – user951 Jun 9 '11 at 14:30

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