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Gulf Oil Spill: Scientists Discover Massive New Sea Oil Plume

The Huffington Post - Marine scientists have discovered a massive new plume of what they believe to be oil deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 22 miles (35 kilometers) from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, Alabama.

The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume recorded since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.

The thick plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and is more than 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) wide, said David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at the school.

Hollander said the team detected the thickest amount of hydrocarbons, likely from the oil spewing from the blown out well, at about 1,300 feet (nearly 400 meters) in the same spot on two separate days this week.

The discovery was important, he said, because it confirmed that the substance found in the water was not naturally occurring and that the plume was at its highest concentration in deeper waters. The researchers will use further testing to determine whether the hydrocarbons they found are the result of dispersants or the emulsification of oil as it traveled away from the well. Read more.

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