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Gulf oil spill: Scientists find second oil plume

Florida scientists just back from a research voyage in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday reported finding a layer of dissolved hydrocarbons that was at least 20 miles long, apparently confirming the ‘oil plume’ discovered by another research vessel a week ago. The team brought back water samples to determine if the material is oil from the BP leak.

Scientists suspect that the far-flung subsea oil is a result of the use of dispersants that break up oil on the surface and distribute smaller particles into the gulf’s water column.

Ernst Peebles, an associate professor of biological oceanography at the University of South Florida, said the ship's sonar detected a thick "structure" at about a quarter-mile deep, some 45 miles northeast of the leaking well. He said they found a similar layer of hydrocarbons and particulates at 1,000 meters deep, about 24 miles from the crippled well.

Peebles said the ship’s sonar had been fooled by tracking migrating masses of sea animals that came up at night to feed. But last Tuesday morning the crew woke up and found the boat surrounded by oil. “We saw a loggerhead turtle surface in the middle of it,” he said. That day the sonar showed a persistent layer of particulates so the scientists lowered an array of glass tubes to take samples.

“We have all the circumstantial evidence pointing to a layer of oil at 400 meters,” Peebles said.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration downplayed the earlier finding and on Friday announced it would launch its own research ship.

-- Julie Cart
 
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All this because they were too cheap to install a redundant blow-out preventer.

"Water alone is not able to penetrate grease or oil because they are of opposite polarity.
When grease or oil (non-polar hydrocarbons) are mixed with a soap- water solution, the soap molecules work as a "bridge" between polar water molecules and non-polar oil molecules. Soap molecules have both properties of non-polar and polar at opposite ends of the molecule.
The oil is a pure hydrocarbon so it is non-polar. The non-polar hydrocarbon tail of the soap dissolves into the oil. That leaves the polar carboxylate ion of the soap molecules are sticking out of the oil droplets, the surface of each oil droplet is negatively charged. As a result, the oil droplets repel each other and remain suspended in solution (this is called an emulsion) to be washed away by a stream of water. The outside of the droplet is also coated with a layer of water molecules."
http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/554soap.html

Question. I have been researching this like crazy and i cant find out. How big is this oil deposit they have tapped into down there? Say if these 'relief wells' dont work either and we sit there stumped again with the same or even possibly more oil leaking than before. Is this the kind of deposit that could gush out oil for years if everything keeps failing, or will it run dry by december? Possibly important information that seems to be overlooked.

This disaster is equivalent to probably several nukes going of in the Gulf. The damage is extensive, long lasting killing every thing in its path. It will destroy the lives and lively hood of millions.

How this was allowed to continue for so long baffles the mind?

I guess they finally have their long last national emergency, and it looks like the US government is their own worst enemy.

I'm I wrong here?


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