Report: Giant Weights to Be Dropped Into Mouth of Erupting Mud Volcano

Indonesian scientists hope to quell an out-of-control mud volcano that has displaced thousands by dropping giant balls and chains into it, according to a report in the British scientific journal Nature.

The nearly constant eruptions of liquefied soil and steam began last May, when drilling in eastern Java apparently tapped into a gigantic pressurized underground aquifer.

Since then, thousands of villagers have fled as mud engulfed their homes on Indonesia's most densely populated island.

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A government scandal also erupted — the company that did the drilling, which still denies responsibility, happens to be owned by the family of the country's welfare minister.

After eight months of mud and fruitless attempts to stop the flow, geophysicists will attempt to plug the hole by dropping 1,000 sets of specially created weights into the hole.

Each set of weights includes four concrete balls — two 16 inches across and two eight inches across — linked by a heavy five-foot chain for a total mass of about 660 pounds.

"It will make the mud tired," one scientist said. "We're killing the mud softly."

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