The oil is not leaking from the ruptured Macondo blow-out; neither is oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Leaking or spilling are such prissy little words for the horrible reality of 35,000 to 60,000 barrels (1,500,000 to 2,500,000 US gallons; 5,600 to 9,500 cubic metres) of crude oil jetting from the gaping void in the sea floor 5 miles below the Gulf waves. There are much more powerful words that evoke the picture of the damned disaster. Geology has some picturesque words: Volcanoes don’t spill lava. They erupt. Gases don’t leak from geysers. They vent or blast or gush.Better to use robust, crunchy, strong words that capture the essence of these sorts of catastrophe. How about ebullition – a violent outpouring? Or maelstrom – surge, or chaos – and it sounds so evil? Or disgorge- like vomit? How about jökulhlaup , a sudden torrent of water from a glacial outburst? Or tsunami – a sudden and violent uproar/uprising of a calm sea? Yes, I know we can’t use those already-defined geological words for this mixed-phase submarine disaster. But these words are still more powerfully evocative of the enormous evil of this geological catastrophe, this engineering and business-driven fuckup, than flaccid spill or puny leak.
(For more see this blog by Wendalyn Nichols)