Sunday, June 13, 2010

Marine Corps Scientist: BIG Bomb Could Seal Gulf Oil Leak

By Nathan Hodge
Washington Wire
June 10, 2010, 6:17 PM ET

Plenty of people have come forward with ideas for plugging the Gulf oil leak. A Marine Corps science adviser has proposed his own novel solution: Drop a huge bomb on it.

Franz Gayl, a civilian scientist employed by the Marine Corps, is circulating a proposal to stop the gusher of oil by using the dropping the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal on the wellhead.

Call it the Mother of All Depth Charges. Gayl is proposing a modified version of the Air Force’s GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, known informally as the “mother of all bombs.” Designed as a “shock and awe” weapon to intimidate Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the Iraq war, the 21,600 pound, GPS-guided bomb was never used in combat.

Washington Wire has obtained a copy of a PowerPoint presentation Gayl is circulating. The presentation neatly visualizes how the bomb might cauterize the leak – without messy consequences. According to Gayl’s theory, the massive shock wave from the detonation would seal the plumbing, but the massive underwater pressure would contain the blast.

Gayl is well known among military-technology geeks: He filed for whistle-blower protection in 2007 after he criticized the military’s procurement bureaucracy for spiking requests to field specialized mine-resistant vehicles. Those vehicles are now widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan.