Three groups of researchers are now reporting evidence of large plumes of oil far below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. This growing proof that an unknown quantity of oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon rig is now accumulating in deeper waters of the gulf comes after BP chief executive Tony Hayward said his company found “no evidence” of such plumes. Hayward also maintained that oil is lighter than water and thus will float to the top of the gulf.
But research teams from the University of Georgia, the University of South Florida, and Louisiana State University have all reported finding evidence of massive plumes of dispersed oil droplets beneath the surface of the gulf. The plumes have been found stretching west or southwest of the gushing oil well, as well as northeast of the well, toward Mobile Bay.
Some of the evidence comes from water samples, while other indications of oil comes in the form of readings from instruments showing extremely high levels of so-called colored dissolved organic matter, which likely indicates oil. Earlier tests in Norway showed that some oil gushing from deep wells — the Deepwater Horizon rig was drilling a mile beneath the surface of the gulf — has a tendency to remain deeper in the water column.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360