oilspill 300x143 Scientists Hot on the Trail of Huge, Underwater Oil Plume In Gulf Of Mexico

Photo by: Igor GOLUBENKOV

Researchers backed by the NSF (National Science Foundation) and in conjunction with the WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) have discovered a plume of hydrocarbons which is more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and is thought to be 22 miles long at minimum. This plume is the residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

The 650 foot high, and 1.2 mile wide, plume of trapped hydrocarbons was discovered in the midst of a ten day subsurface sampling effort which took place from the 19th of June, until the 28th of June this year near the wellhead. The results have given a clear indication of where the oil has gone as the slicks on the surface have been shrinking and disappearing.

“These results create a clearer picture of where the oil is in the Gulf,” commented Christopher Reddy, a WHOI marine geochemist and one of the authors of a paper on the results that appears in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

This investigation – which was made possible by three quick action grants from the chemical and oceanography program at the NSF, with additional money made available by the US Coast Guard and NOAA via the Resource Damage Assessment Program – has confirmed that a large flowing plume was discovered which had

“petroleum hydrocarbon levels that are noteworthy and detectable,” Reddy explained.

So it seems we have not yet seen the end of the dreadful BP Oil Spill. While there has been no talk about what to do about this potentially disastrous situation, they are hard at work on it, but it could be months before an answer is found.