It's a 5 foot diameter pipe with over 70,000 PSI of pressure. To give you some idea of what that's about, This is the same pressures high pressure water cutters that cut steel, concret or just about anything using a small 1 mm stream. A 5 foot stream of oil, filled with abrasive nano-diamonds, powerful enough to cut any materials we have at a water too deep for humans to work in.
It can't be fixed, at best they tried to put a funnel over it and capture it, but that can't work because this oil is full of expanding gasses. These gasses become increasingly cold as it expands increasing the pressure and force of the oil coming out.
"When the oil is removed normally, it comes out at a controlled rate. You can still have abrasive particles in that. Well, now, at this well, its coming out at fairly high velocity," Gouguet continued. "Any erosive grains are abrading the inside of the pipe and all the steel that comes in contact with the liquid. It's essentially sanding away the pipe.
So this has the same effect that a super-volcano has where the volume of material expands explosively.
But it get's worse, It's grinding away the pipe! Once the pipe is gone the hole will grow larger and larger.
it could become a Yellowstone Caldera type event, except from below a mile of sea, with a 1/4-mile opening, with up to 150,000 psi of oil and natural gas behind it, from a reserve nearly as large as the Gulf of Mexico containing trillions of barrels of oil. That would be an Earth extinction event. (Link)
In addition these oil deplete all of the available oxygen from the water, killing everything in is path.
And releasing massive amounts of Methane in the the air, this is the other green house gas that's 100's of times more dangerous then CO2.
Estimate are that it will take 3 months to drill a relief well. This is so the pressure can be relieve from the broken pipe enough so that we can then fix it.
"Claims are circulating on the Internet that the Coast Guard fears the Deepwater Horizon well has sprung two extra leaks, raising fears that all control over the release of oil at the site will be lost. The oil field, one of the largest ever discovered, could release 50,000 barrels a day into the ocean, with implications for marine life around the globe that are difficult to comprehend. So, considering that losing our oceanic life, with subsequent unraveling of our land-based ecosystems, is a far more possible apocalyptic scenario than a killer asteroid — what do we do about it?"
There is talk of using a nuke to try to collapse the well and stop it, but is could actually make it worse also.
What bothers me the most is how little the press and people seem to appreciate how bad this event can be for the Human Race.
Scientists find giant oil plumes under Gulf
One is about 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick
Leaked report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher
Deepwater oil spill: will BP take nuclear option?
Nuke that slick
Barack Obama sends nuclear experts to tackle BP's Gulf of Mexico oil leak
Gulf Gusher Worst Case Scenario
Deep Water Horizon Response
Gulf Spill: Did Pesky Hydrates Trigger the Blowout? Methane in the oil.
How Bad Is the Gulf Coast Oil Spill?