Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.
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According to the AP:
Researchers Vernon Asper and Arne Dierks said in Web posts that the plumes were “perhaps due to the deep injection of dispersants which BP has stated that they are conducting.”
Meanwhile, BP began spraying undersea dispersants at that leak site and said the chemicals appear to have reduced the amount of surface oil.
This unprecedented use of chemical dispersants underwater, and the depth of the leak has created many unknowns regarding environmental impact, and researchers hurriedly worked to chart its effects.
Federal regulators on Friday approved the underwater use of the chemicals, which act like a detergent to break the oil into small globules and allow it to disperse more quickly into the water or air before it comes ashore.
The decision by the Environmental Protection Agency angered state officials and fishermen, who complained that regulators ignored their concerns about the effects on the environment and fish.
“The EPA is conducting a giant experiment with our most productive fisheries by approving the use of these powerful chemicals on a massive, unprecedented scale,” John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance, said in a news release
Of course, this has not been reported at our government’s and BP’s disinformational website : deepwaterhorizonresponse.com .
What a surprise.