JAKARTA, Indonesia – International scientists said Tuesday they are almost certain a mud volcano that has displaced tens of thousands of villagers in central Indonesia was caused by faulty drilling of a gas exploration well – not an earthquake as claimed by the company.
Debate over the eruption has flared since a seemingly endless torrent of hot, black sludge started oozing from a gaping hole near the city of Surabaya in 2006.
Well operator Lapindo Brantas, owned by the family of Indonesia’s richest man, Welfare Minister Aburizal Bakrie, says it was triggered by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake 155 miles from the site two days earlier.
“We are more certain than ever that the Lusi mud volcano is an unnatural disaster and was triggered by drilling the Banjar-Panji-1 well,” Richard Davies, a geologist at Durham University in Britain, said Tuesday.
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