WHOI Scientists Map and Confirm Origin of Large, Underwater Hydrocarbon Plume in Gulf
From Wealth Daily:
Underwater 'River' of Oil Confirmed in GulfBy Adam Sharp
Monday, August 23rd, 2010
And just when things were looking up for the Gulf... a huge underwater oil plume has been discovered.
The hydrocarbon plume/river is 22 miles long, 1.2 miles wide, and 650 feet high. It isn't pure crude, of course; it's more like a mix of oil and water.
Why isn't the oil floating to the top?
Crude is lighter than water, so it usually does... But this spill is different.
The river of hydrocarbons is currently headed southwest, towards Mexico's coastline. That could cause a nasty international incident in a few months...
Fortunately, scientists say the plume's concentrations of toxic chemicals are dispersing as they travel.
But we're talking about benzene, mercury, and other really nasty chemicals. The full impact of these deep water plumes is not yet understood.
Scientists from WHOI, along with the Coast Guard and other institutions, used an array of high-tech gadgets — including an autonomous unmanned vehicle (AUV) named the Sentry — along with mass spectrometers, to find and track the plume.
Dr. Richard Camilli of WHOI had this to say:
Dr. Samantha Joye, a marine science professor at the University of Georgia, said told the NY Times:
We can only hope for the best, and be glad that efforts to limit damage from the spill have picked up in recent months.
Just today I talked to a friend who is down in New Orleans, coordinating and working on the cleanup. He told me things have improved dramatically from the chaotic early days.
Thousands of bright folks are working around the clock to clean this one up.
Until next time,