May 13th, 2010
12:01 PM ET

Making a mountain to stop the oil

See this island? It wasn't here yesterday.

The Louisiana National Guard poured in tons of sand and rock to fill a 700 foot gap in a barrier island to stop the oil from reaching the estuaries.

The gap was the result of hurricane damage in Elmer's Island, just across the bridge from Grand Isle.

Filled in, the island will now be a part of the last line of defense in Louisiana's scramble to protect it's ecologically sensitive coast. The area is also an important breeding ground for shrimp.

"It's ecologically and economically very important to the local community," Lt. Kyle Galloway told CNN.

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. mk

    Thanks #197 – my bad.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Krista

    I'm not sure MCW. The guy seemed pretty confident... they asked him to stay on hold so they could get his number and give it to the two experts who were on the show to contact later 🙂

    May 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barbara

    @Juan – You cannot pump warm air inside the container under water – hot air rises...so the warm air will rise to the top of the Top Hat, Box, etc., and the crystals will still form at the bottom.

    Sigh....I wish some folks would THINK before they speak with their keyboards...

    May 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MCW

    What is the science of evaporation relative to the grade and viscosity of the oil that is leaking? At what temperature will it occur?

    May 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Palin is a twit

    #204...Do you watch NASCAR? Do you park your motorhome at Walmarts? Are you a member of a militia? Do you wera a tin foil hat?

    May 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. EarthTone Greetings

    Where is Sarah Palin now with her famous "Drill baby drill," line!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    @inspiral: I think I understand your approach. Thing that concerns me is not knowing what kind of turbulence exists in the area of the leak. I've fooled around with lift bags underwater, and they can be a real pain in a current.

    That said, perhaps it might be possible to create a rigid pontoon-type vessel with an open bottom where the flotation/ballast chambers could be slowly vented to allow the thing to be lowered to depth on cables and then, using GPS guided thrusters, move it laterally with the surface ship until it was positioned over the leak. The chamber design would be such that it could not become positively buoyant even if it filled completely with gas, so that accidentally floating back to the surface if teh outlet were blocked would not be a possibility. On board tanks would supply pressurized air to regulate the buoyance of the ballast tanks.

    Obviously, now you need some kind of pipe, rigid or flexible, to capture and guide the mess to the surface and separate out the methane from the crude. I don't have a clue how to manage that. Do you?

    May 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. steve

    @old "smart" person.....

    Thermite Torpedo?
    ugh Where some of you people get these ideas is beyond me. Why not suggest a box of roman candles? I mean, lit of course.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Krista

    Supposedly the type of oil that's leaking mixes extremely well with water... one person used the analogy of "chocolate milk" in regards to its consistency.

    I'm concerned about the chemical dispersants. They're just making the oil into smaller and smaller droplets... which IMO just means it'll spread further, and the dispersants themselves are toxic... they might be making this twice as bad for the environment as the spill itself... but they're more concerned about keeping it out of sight of shore and protecting the on shore environments... The "dead zone" in the Gulf may be the Entire gulf once this is over. But hey, maybe they're still be some white sand beaches to enjoy while watching all the dead fish etc. come ashore.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MCW

    Chris-Ohio – I agree but let's streetch out the weaning period to 9 or more years as I'm in da oil bidness.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. james dennis

    215 david ray griffin, new pearl harbor revisited, read learn wake up

    May 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MCW

    didn't finish – and that's when i plan to retire!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Krista

    How did they install the blow out preventer thing in the first place? I assume that it was installed on to the pipe after the hole/well itself was drilled... or is it actually lowered down with the drill pipe? They should cut beneath it and put a new one on if possible.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MCW

    the crackpot greed motives in this thread are making me bust a gut!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Stuart Greene

    RE: Underwater "fires" to seal the leaking pipe. The thermite reaction is used to do iron welding under water, such as sealing leaks in iron hulled ships. Instead of pumping in external oxygen, the thermite reactants provide their own oxygen via chemical reaction, transferring it from iron to more chemically reactive aluminum. Once initiated with a high energy catalyst, the reaction becomes self-sustaining, yielding a flow of molten iron. I assume that if this process could be adapted to sealing a leaking deep-water oil pipe, someone would have already thought of it. But who knows? This is covered in Middle School chemistry – at least it was when I was a kid.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
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