10/15/2005 01:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Not So Natural a Disaster?

Today's Times-Picayune goes where no other news medium does--it asks a UC Berkeley engineer to examine the Corps of Engineers' early borings into the soil that anchored the floodwalls that breached, leading to the flooding of much of New Orleans (though not the Lower Ninth Ward). "Soil borings"--it sounds so unsexy. Yet the early indications are that the particular soil--"a soft, spongy layer of swamp peat"--is "remarkably...low (in strength)...around the bottom of the sheet pile (base of the floodwall)."

The upshot: the flooding that devastated much of Central New Orleans may not have been, as the lawyers say, an act of God.