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TIME “Top 10” Natural Disasters

#5. Indonesian Mud Volcano

It wasn’t exactly an act of God — the blame should go to a poorly run natural gas drilling project — but the out-of-control mud flows near the Indonesian city of Surabaya certainly resembled something out of a disaster movie. The problem started in late May, when hot mud broke into a well that had been drilled without proper protective casing. When the company tried to stop up the mud with cement plugs, it eventually flowed to the surface and burst through the ground in a series of foul geysers. By October the mud was flowing at rate of about 170,000 cubic feet a day, utterly submerging neighboring villages and factories, and leaving over 10,000 people homeless. By Bryan Walsh


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