Lapindo Mud Lake, Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia

The very popular phenomenon of Mud Volcano in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia. The mud has soaked and effected 600 hectares of 12 villages and destroyed other villages. The mud can fill more than 50 Olympic swimming pool. Approximately more than 40.000 people have to be evacuated from this area. There are other names for this mud lake ; Mud Volcano, Lumpur Lapindo, Lumpur Sidoarjo (abreviated as LUSI).

Indonesian Govt has slowed down the mud flow until 10.000 m3 of mus, water and gas per day. Now this gigantic lake can still behold by dikes that are still on progress as it expels more and more material. A Geologist from Durham University, Richard Davies said that the magma pressure is now lessen but there is a possibility that periodically it will rise again and cause a bigger explosion, as the mud explosion is the most unpredictable. He said that the mud flow behaviour is unique that if has been flowing for 5 years, something that never happened in the natural volcanic system.

It was initiated by a small mud flow in a farm nearby the drilling activities of Lapindo Brantas Company. Lapindo persist that this was caused by a quake in Jogja , located round 280 KM from the area, 2 days before the mud explosion. Geologists made statements that this was occured because of the drilling that made the mud erupted. Although Lapindo Brantas denied as the cause of this disaster, still it agreed to compensate the victims, though it failed to do so for some reasons.

There are few scenarions that had been taken to stop the mud flow, from snubbing unit, sidetracking, and relief well by drilling other well on the location, but all of them were fail. The latter mentioned could not be executed because of the expensive cost. Plan to channel the mud to Porong River or Sea had faced an environmental issues from The Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi), not only destroy the river’s ecosystem, but also to human.

According East Java WALHI, the mud contains of copper, lead and cadmium, that are all already exceeds the threshold. And there are other contents namely : polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH),  crysene and benz anthracene. Those compound have carcinogenicity effect on human. PAH is not easily decomposed by water, mud or even dust that will endanger local inhabitants in the future. There is also the advantage that can be utilized of the mud, that the mud that contains Silica РSilicon Dioxide (SiO2) can be used as solid concrete block to substitute cement material.

Visitors can visit this mud volcano from a very close distance by climbing to the dike of the lake. The dike is now built with flexible construction by making wall of stones that are wrap with strong wire to make it flexible as the nature of the mud.