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Contributors:
  1. Michael Manga
  2. Maxwell Rudolph
  3. Richard Davies

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Description: The cause of the Lusi mud eruption remains controversial. The review by Miller and Mazzini (2017) firmly dismisses a role of drilling operations at the adjacent Banjarpanji-1 well and argues that the eruption was triggered by the Mw6.3 Yogyakarta earthquake 254 km away. We disagree with both of these conclusions. We review drilling data, and specifically the daily drilling reports, which clearly confirm that the wellbore was not intact and that there was a subsurface blowout. Downhole pressure data from Lusi directly witness the birth of Lusi at the surface on the 29th of May 2006, indicating a direct connection between the well and the eruption. Furthermore, the daily drilling reports specifically state that Lusi activity was visibly altered on three separate occasions by attempts to kill the eruption by pumping dense fluid down the BJP-1 well, providing further evidence of a connection between the wellbore and Lusi. By comparison with the other examples of newly initiated eruptions, the Yogyakarta earthquake was far away given its magnitude. We show that other shallow earthquakes with similar frequencies produced stronger ground shaking and did not trigger an eruption. Finally, the data from the BJP-1 well indicates that there was no prior hydrodynamic connection between deep overpressured hydrothermal fluids and the shallow Kalibeng clays, and that there was no evidence of any liquefaction or remobilization of the Kalibeng clays induced by the earthquake. We thus strongly favor initiation by drilling and not an earthquake. NOTE: This is a comment on a paper (Miller and Mazzini, 2017), which is available from JMPG. Please contact us if you need help finding it.

License: Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0

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