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Indonesia

The Strangeness of Lapindo

People who have not visited Indonesia before have probably never heard of Lapindo. Unlike Pompeii, It is not old enough yet to be classed as an exotic ruin, the death and destruction caused are too fresh. Yet despite this fact there there are many parallels. The It is a modern version of Pompeii, except that the disaster was caused by people and not mother nature.

Lapindo is the largest mudflow in the world and is located near to Surabaya on the Island of Java. For almost five years now Lapindo, steaming hot mud has been pumping out of the ground. Stumped at how to stop the mud from pumping out of the ground, the worlds brightest engineers have instead decided to contain it. The whole site, which encompasses an area so vast it takes almost thirty minutes to drive around it, is surrounded by a thick mud and concrete embankment.

A trip to Lapindo is a strange almost post apocalyptic journey. As far as you can see in any direction is an endless expanse of mud. Steaming water vapor emits from cracks in the ground. As you drive around the mud flow you pass buildings and factories, the roofs popping out from below the ground. In total, the mud flow has submerged almost five villages and displaced tens of thousands of people.

The tour guides who will show you around the site are actually ex-residents of the villages that are now submerged beneath the noxious mud. They will take you around the site, pointing out old and now forgotten landmarks. Many of them will even be able to show you where they even lived, though their homes ate now beneath the mud.

So how was this mud flow formed you might be asking yourself? For the record, Lapindo was actually caused by an earthquake and not by the oil drilling that was occurring in the region. The fact that the site is named after the oil company that was operating in