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Manure lagoon bubbles Wed, Mar 31, 2010
I learned a lot from this Wall Street Journal article (via Neatorama).  So apparently dairy farmers store cow manure in giant pools, or lagoons, where it stays for a while before being trucked away and used as fertilizer.  But as it sits there, it decomposes and releases some methane.  As an environmental precaution, farmers are usually required to limit ground seepage by lining the lagoons with a sort of plastic, like a pool liner.  But this Indiana farmer's liner didn't work quite right, so manure was able to seep into the ground and release methane from underneath the lagoon, causing giant methane bubbles to form.  The problem with this is that as the bubbles grow, they could cause the lagoon to overflow, essentially creating a flood of liquid manure.  The farmer's solution is to cut the bubbles open with a knife from a boat used to paddle out into the lagoon, but the neighbors are afraid of either an "explosive decompression" (i.e. giant fart) or a fiery explosion.  Either way, this is one of the greatest news articles I've ever read. 

Related:  Antarctic Methane #science


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