Earlier today, BP reported that their latest containment cap succeeded in stopping the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig. But as the Science Guy explains, closing the valves on the new cap could make matters even worse.
Using a plastic bottle and some rubber tubing, Nye demonstrates why BP is only cautiously optimistic about its recent success: Basically, they have no way of knowing if the drill string, which extends 3.2km into the Earth's crust, is itself ruptured, and if it is, closing the valves at the top of the new containment cap could force oil out of the string and up through the surrounding ocean floor. Great.
Still, Nye says that BP is doing the right thing taking their time with closing the valves. As he points out, in the grand scheme of things, a few extra hours are nothing compared to the possibility of introducing another catastrophic leak of oil to the area. [Treehugger]