(Submitted on 3 Jun 2010)
Hardware failure at the top of a deep underwater oil well can result in a catastrophic oil leak. The enormous pressure lifting the column of oil in that well makes it nearly impossible to stop from the top with seals or pressurization. We propose to fill the bottom of the well with dense and possibly streamlined objects that can descend through the rising oil. As they accumulate, those objects couple to the oil via viscous and drag forces and increase the oil's effective density. When its effective density exceeds that of the earth's crust, the oil will have essentially stopped flowing.