T Nation

Scientists Find Evidence of 2nd Oil Plume


TAMPA, Fla., June 7 (UPI) -- University of South Florida scientists say they discovered a second oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico arising from BP's broken oil well on the gulf floor.

The scientists concluded that microscopic oil droplets are forming deep-water oil plumes, CNN reported Monday. The second recently discovered plume was in the northeastern gulf; the first plume was found by Mississippi scientists in May.

"These hydrocarbons are from depth and not associated with sinking, degraded oil but associated with the source of (BP's) Deepwater Horizon wellhead," USF Chemical Oceanographer David Hollander. "We've taken molecular isotopic approaches, which is like a fingerprint on a smoking gun."

BP did not comment on the report, but previously denied underwater oil plumes exist, CNN said.

"The oil is on the surface," BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said. "There aren't any plumes."

However, CNN reported BP Managing Director Bob Dudley as saying, "We're all absolutely taking these ideas seriously and looking at them."

USF scientists said they were unsure about the size of the plumes.

"There are indications this is fairly widespread," Hollander said. "There is probably more than one leg of this plume."

Scientist expressed concern about the effect the oil and dispersive agents used to break up the oil will have on marine life.


I'm curious about this phenomenon and how the scietists are detecting it, but not certain about its size, etc.

What are they measuring and how does it relate to the oil well itself? Is it a water sample process, a chemical reaction - does anyone know what methodology they are using?


Honestly, I'm not sure. I've heard other experts agree that there appears to be evidence of more than one leak too:


OH SHIT! The Hurricanes! Totally forgot about that. If this isnt cleaned up before then what the hell will happen? Spreading the oil over a massive distance might actually lessen the negative effects on any one area. Or it just might screw us all over eh?



Some scientists are saying that the hurricanes will clear it up. Other scientists are saying it will screw everything up by spreading it everywhere. I think I'll agree with the other scientists (probably not BP ones).

I think the best option would be to use a nuclear device to seal all the leaks. This is getting way out of hand.


^ that's my question - is there actually still millions of gallons of undiluted/undissolved oil in the Gulf - has it all risen to the surface to be contained (i though all oil floated - so what are these plumes?), cleaned, burnt or whatever. And then if not - what happens to it during hurricane season.


That's actually a good question. I'm not entirely sure. I know they are getting some of it with boats and their fixes, but I believe there's still a ton out there.

There's another issue too:

"Admiral Thad Allen says the one million gallons of dispersant used to break up the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico has helped create "hundreds of thousands of patches" of oil that need to be cleaned up.

The spill is "no longer a single spill but a massive collection of smaller spills," said Allen, who briefed reporters at the White House before heading into an 11 a.m. ET meeting with President Obama and Cabinet officials working on the spill response."

Source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/06/allen-oil-spill-now-hundreds-of-thousands-of-patches/1


"An underwater three-dimensional map of the oil spill is closer to becoming a reality, now that the US has for the first time confirmed the discovery of a subsurface oil plume resulting from the ruptured BP well. The government agency in charge of ocean science has received the first of several expected reports from university investigators aboard research ships detailing specific locations where oil has been found below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

The government, which denied reports of giant underwater oil plumes in mid-May, said researchers at the time had not confirmed the presence of conglomerated oil." The New York Times talked with scientists on a two-week mission in the Gulf and reported them "awed" at the size and density of the underwater plume."



They're also saying another rig near the Horizon is leaking oil as well...just what we need right now.


This whole situation is fucked.


Here's the article about the second oil rig leaking:

"As if there wasn't enough oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, satellite images have revealed a 10-mile-long slick from another drilling rig, which apparently began leaking days after the Deepwater Horizon disaster began.

Citing an environmental group and federal documents, the Mobile, Ala., Press- Register reports that the smaller leak, from the Ocean Saratoga platform, apparently began around April 30 and was noted by federal officials May 15. But they and Diamond Offshore officials aren't saying anything else about it.

The spill was first reported by SkyTruth, which said it accidentally discovered the separate slick while scrutinizing Deepwater Horizon images. Photos taken during overflights "appear to show a large oil crew boat pumping dispersants into the water at the spill site," the Press- Register writes.

Officials at the National Response Center, which is coordinating the massive BP spill, said the Ocean Saratoga leak had been reported, but they would not say exactly when it began. The Coast Guard has not yet responded either.

The Ocean Saratoga, currently under contract to the Marshall Islands, can operate in water 2,200 feet deep and drill to 25,000 feet."