A mammoth white containment dome placed over a leaking oil well 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico had to be moved away from the well Saturday after ice-like crystals clogged the massive steel-and-concrete box.New York Times Green Blog:
The buildup of crystals also made the box too buoyant, BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said.
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By Saturday, workers had to move the box, which is still on the sea bed, some 200 meters away from the leaking oil well.
Officials discovered that gas hydrates, ice-like crystals lighter than water, had built up inside the 100-ton metal container. The hydrates tried to make the dome buoyant, and they also plugged up the top of the dome, preventing it from being effective.