An Unseen Leak, Then Boom – ProPublica

Three miles away, a geyser of gas shot out of the earth, sending mud and rocks 30 feet into the air. Elsewhere, the ground popped open like the rotten hull of a boat, spraying brown briny water or catching fire.

The next morning, just when the earth seemed to recover its temper, a new plume of gas and water shot through the floor of a mobile home, killing two people. Hundreds of other Hutchinson residents were evacuated from their homes, many for months.

The mysterious disaster claimed national headlines, but there was little public discussion of the fact that it was caused by problems with underground injection wells.

Among a small community of geologists and regulators, however, the explosions in Hutchinson — which ranked among the worst injection-related accidents in history — exposed fundamental risks of underground leakage and prompted fresh doubts about the geological science of injection itself.

Read the full story An Unseen Leak, Then Boom – ProPublica.

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