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A scientific study into a major mud eruption in Indonesia blames careless gas drilling as the likely cause of the flow, which has made thousands homeless.

The mud geyser, near the coastal city of Sidoarjo, erupted in May 2006 (see 'Engineers try to halt Indonesia's giant mudflow'), and continues to spill thousands of cubic metres of mud into the area.

Now a fresh investigation by scientists from Durham University, United Kingdom, concludes that a botched drilling for gas was probably responsible for the leak.

Their results, published in Geological Society of America Today, warn that 7,500–150,000 cubic metres of mud may continue to flow, perhaps for years, making the area uninhabitable.

The company implicated, Lapindo Brantas, has denied the claims and Indonesia's welfare minister, Aburizal Bakrie, blamed an earlier earthquake for the disaster.

But, as this BBC article points out, Lapindo Brantas is controlled by Bakrie's family firm.

Link to full article on BBC online

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