|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn't really a spill: It‘s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker, which might empty in hours or days.
Accidents have occurred before in which oil has gushed from damaged wells, he said. But he knew of none in water so deep.
And "everything is bigger and more difficult the deeper you go," said Andy Bowen, a research specialist who works with undersea robotics at the Woods Hole center. "Fighting gravity is tough. It increases loads. You need bigger winches, bigger cables, bigger ships."
An analogy, he said, is the difference between construction work on the ground versus at the top of a mile-high skyscraper.
To BP falls the daunting task of trying to stop the gush before it becomes the most damaging spill in American history. If the flow is not stopped, it will exhaust the natural reservoir of oil beneath the sea floor, experts say. Many months, at least, could pass.