Scientists on the trail of some New Plumes of Unknown Origin

(2PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Here we go again.

Those Scientists are back out there, taking samples, plotting data, and Kicking Uncertainty’s Butt!

Underwater Oil Plume Discovered Near Mobile Bay

By Bobbie O’Brien — May 27, 2010

TAMPA — New tests show what appears to be a massive, second underwater plume in previously untested waters northeast of the leaking BP wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.

Marine scientists have discovered a new, wide area of “dissolved hydrocarbons” in that Gulf. It is six miles wide and goes as deep as 3,300 feet.

More tests are being run, but researchers from the University of South Florida suspect the plume may be from chemical dispersants used to break up the gushing oil leak a mile below the surface.

They suspect the gunk to be Disperants, But HOW can you be sure — you can’t even see it!

Because for most of America, those Underwater Plumes won’t really exist, until they SEE them on the Evening News!

Uh oh!  Someone gave those Plume-Scientists a boat again.  

WHAT were they thinking!

Maybe they know that ‘transparency of information’, might actually lead to practical and appropriate Response Plans?  Might actually lead to some Scientific Conclusions too … that could help to heal the ravished Gulf ecosystems …

UGA marine scientists lead oil plume research mission; blog from the Gulf of Mexico

May 27, 2010 by UGA News Service  

A team of University marine scientists conducting research on the huge underwater oil plume that was discovered in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion is posting information on its research mission to a blog, […]

The team, now on board the R/V [research vessel] F.G. Walton Smith, is led by Samantha Joye, UGA professor of marine sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Joye was a member of the NOAA-supported expedition that discovered the deepwater plumes thousands of feet below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, about two weeks ago.


Nothing like these plumes has ever been seen before,” said Joye. “This is the first time such a buoyant plume has been document in a cold, pelagic environment.” Ocean temperatures range from 8 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the plume to about 15 degrees Celsius at the top.

Scientists on the UGA-led cruise will use a suite of instrumentation that includes sophisticated sonar equipment and an in situ camera system. The team will sample water throughout the plume for chemical and microbial analyses. It will also conduct mapping surveys in a radial grid around the spill site to document whether other such plumes exist.

But there’s only one blown-out Oil Well — So how can there be so many different Oil Plumes, lurking beneath the surface?  Maybe those floating “blobs”, were already there?

Or maybe they are just the nifty Dispersants, at work — you know, dispersing … (and dispensing, with the crux of each critical Food Chain too.)

Scientists find evidence of large underwater oil plume in gulf

By David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer — May 27, 2010

Scientists have found evidence of a large underwater “plume” of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, adding to fears that much of the BP oil spill’s impact is hidden beneath the surface.

The scientists, aboard a University of South Florida research vessel, found an area of dissolved oil that is about six miles wide, and extends from the surface down to a depth of about 3,200 feet, said Professor David Hollander.


The plume is clear, with the oil entirely dissolved.

“Here is a situation where, unless you’re looking at the chemical fingerprints, {the oil} is absolutely not visible,” Hollander said. “It’s not some Italian vinaigrette or anything like that. It’s absolutely, perfectly clear.”

But, Hollander said, even this clear-looking water could contain enough oil to be toxic to small animals at the base of the gulf food chain.


This discovery seems to confirm the fears of some scientists that — because of the depth of the leak and the heavy use of chemical “dispersants” — this spill was behaving differently than others. Instead of floating on top of the water, it may be moving beneath it.

That would be troubling because it could mean the oil would slip past coastal defenses such as “containment booms” designed to stop it on the surface. Already, scientists and officials in Louisiana have reported finding thick oil washing ashore despite the presence of floating booms.

It would also be a problem for hidden ecosystems deep under the gulf. There, scientists say, the oil could be absorbed by tiny animals and enter a food chain that builds to large, beloved sport-fish like red snapper. It might also glom on to deep-water coral formations, and cover the small animals that make up each piece of coral.

It kills them because it prevents them from feeding,” said Professor James H. Cowan Jr., of Louisiana State University. “It could essentially starve them to death.”

But if you can’t see itHow do you even “know” it is there?  And how do you KNOW it’s BP’s Oil/Disperant Brew?   The Gulf of Mexico is known for its own “seepage problems”, I’ve heard.  … do you have any proof ???

Is there a Scientist in the HouseHow about a Marine Biologist?

What do the Experts have to say about the New plumes?

Gulf Oil Blog:

The migrating undersea plume

UGA Department of Marine Sciences

By Samantha Joye — May 27, 2010

Around 16:00, we spotted the top of the plume at about 800m water depth.  Everyone got pretty excited.  But, little did we know that we’d soon be even more excited!  The plume had not only moved North but it was somewhat different than it was two weeks ago during the Pelican cruise.

The plume was located between 800m and 1300m in the water column and there appeared to be three distinct layers.  The sensor signal for colored dissolved organic showed a robust increase in signal between 800 and 900m; then increased by about five times between 1000 and 1200m; and, between 1200 and 1300m, the signal doubled again.  In these same depth ranges, the signal from the transmissometer also increased, suggesting a different suite of particles in the water between these different depths.


We got the samples on deck and used a methane sensor to collect samples for methane concentration analysis and oxygen respiration rate assays.  Those samples are being run right now and we can’t wait to see the data.

We’re right there with you, Marine Scientist Joye — we can’t wait for those sample results either!  Afterall SOMETHING must be causing that multi-layered blob(s), which only seem to “get stronger” the deeper you go.

And SOMETHING must be hurting from so much “dissolved organics” invading their environment.

Hmmmm?  I wonder what sort of “phenomena” could create such wide spread, “plumes”, that get trapped in specific water layers, and can spread out for miles? … Perhaps a super-duper “red tide” ?

I don’t know, but a huge Underwater Oil Gusher, being treated with huge quantities of Underwater Disperants, for over a month — seems to be a plausible cause, for those “gianormous” plumes, which only seem to be getting more “enormous”, each time we Scientists look for them.

Maybe the “chemical and microbial analyses” will provide the definitive  ‘CSI Fingerprint-evidence’ much of America will need, to put any skeptical veils of Uncertainty on those hidden Plumes — finally to rest!

Since it’s all just a giant Unplanned Experiment anyways, it’s probably a good idea to get the ‘best Scientists’ out there, to measure its effects …

Otherwise, How on earth, can we ever Quantify “What Damage has/will be Done?”, in the that reckless chase, for ever-vanishing amounts, of the last remnants of Peak Oil


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    • jamess on May 28, 2010 at 14:00

    to the petri dish Experiment, taking place in the Gulf?

    the law of Unintended Consequences

    or the fact that, everything

    in a Closed Ecosystem [like Earth]

    is Interconnected?

  1. I had just posted this latest discovery:

    May 28, 2010, BP Photo

    A 22-mile oil plume under Gulf nears rich waters.

    By MATTHEW BROWN and JASON DEAREN, Associated Press Writers Matthew Brown And Jason Dearen, Associated Press Writers – Fri May 28, 10:31 am ET

    NEW ORLEANS – A thick, 22-mile plume of oil discovered by researchers off the BP spill site was nearing an underwater canyon, where it could poison the foodchain for sealife in the waters off


    The discovery by researchers on the

    University of South Florida College of Marine Science’s Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume reported since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. The plume is more than 6 miles wide and its presence was reported Thursday. . . . .

    This catastrophe becomes more frightening each day — I fear for ocean life and more, everywhere now!

    • Traci on May 29, 2010 at 00:59
  2. Matt Simmons…chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, an investment bank catering to oil companies   said in an interview on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Program:

    “there’s another leak,much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away” from the leaking riser and blowout preventer shown on the underwater cameras…

    …If accurate, the bigger leak could have been caused by the destruction of the well casing when the oil rig exploded. That is Simmons’ theory…

    The link above has an embedded video of the interview, FWIW.  I don’t know if Simmons has any evidence to back up his theory, or if other experts agree with him.  But, if he’s right…

  3. …. to be able to make up that amount of volume.  Plus, the Corexit, it’s like mineral spirits or very light kerosene, or like an alcohol in that it’s easy to have it evaporate.

    More likely it’s the oil, broken up into little bitty bits that the “microbes” have not eaten because there is so much of it.  Or, somehow, oil + dispersant + methane + cold salt water and deep pressure makes a new sort of undersea cocktail mixture, sort of like Petroleum based super juice. We could call it the Deepwater Horizon V8 Splash.  

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