May 17th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Scientist: Oil plumes in Gulf may pose additional hazard

While efforts to mop oil off the surface of the Gulf of Mexico stretch into a fifth week, more potentially hazardous oil could be lurking below the surface in large oil plumes, scientists said Monday - a previously-unseen phenomenon they are eager to learn more about.

"Nothing like it has really ever been seen in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico before," Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, told CNN's "American Morning." "It's not only a large feature, but it's a very complex feature. There's a lot of vertical structure to it."

But the plumes could mean that even more oil has gushed into the Gulf from an undersea well than previously thought, and the contaminants under the surface could pose additional environmental hazards.

At least one of the plumes is thought to be enormous. Vernon Asper, a professor of marine science at the University of Southern Mississippi, told National Public Radio in a story that aired Monday that the largest is "probably 15 or 20 miles long and maybe 4 or 5 miles wide."

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Judy

    If oil were discovered in salt water instead of deep in the earth, there would be a way to harvest it without delay. How about pumping the oil to the surface, separating it from the water and save the Gulf?

    May 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Donna

    All of BP's assets should be frozen, and the spill should be fixed now at what ever the cost using every single resource available. WE have such advanced technology, why is this taking so long to fix?

    May 18, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Donna

    The federal goverment should freeze all of BPs assets, and have every resource avail to come together and fix this. BP is screwing around. We have such amazing technololgy, why aren't we using it.. Come on stuffing the holes with golf balls and rubber tires?
    Why can't they clamp this pipe shut?
    Why can't they use a quick curing urathaine to plug up the wholes?
    Why can't they use a type of angioplasty inflatable balloon to plug up these holes.

    This is killing me. With the technology that we have at this time. All hands on deck! Lets pull together!

    May 18, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David

    I am also outraged. We all know the truth. The fact is that the blame is on all of us, except maybe the amish. Think about your daily life without coal, oil, or natural gas. People no matter who they are have a stronger tendency to think of how to make the fast buck then the consequences of it.

    I'm hearing that this was an experimental well. This is one sick experiment.

    Want to blame the government? Go ahead! Want to blame B.P.? Do that too! But don't forget to blame me and yourself. Do you understand what I'm getting at? Want to make statement every oil executive will pay attention to? Just shut off the main breaker on your house, stop driving your car, go back to the days were the dentist and the barber were the same person and the tools were the same too.

    Point is we have a severe addiction to oil and we need an intervention. Alot of people have been crying for it for years. Obama has actually tried to boost the green revolution. I'm sure he had no idea this would happen to an oil rig. B.P. knew but don't heroine dealers know that heroine is deadly. Think of the parallels between oil and heroine.

    The problem is that there is a market for oil and we are it. We can't get off it fast enough and if we go cold turkey we will die. B.P. was just trying to give us what we wanted at an affordable price while they made a hefty profit. Did they cut corners to do it. Heck, Yeah! Everyone does to some extent. Ever try to get some electrician or plumber to do side work on your house. Why? because it's cheaper. Your house might burn down and your kids might get killed in the fire but I bet you weren't thinking of that when stroked that check for 50% off the labor of have that ceiling fan installed.

    I'll shut up in second. I guess I just get a little upset with all the self-rightousness that I'm reading in these comments. If you really want to help, go see if the USCG will let you put your boat in the water and help suck some oil.

    Till then stop calling people you don't even know devil worshiper's, if that is what a "luciferian" is. That particular post was about the dumbest I've ever read.

    As for me, I've little ones at home and I'm gonna continue taking advantage of energy saving tax credits by trying to go greener. That way, maybe, when they leave the lights on I won't get so mad at myself for being an addict. As for the car, well, what are you going to do? Maybe, I'll follow your lead on that one.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mz. V

    P.S. David

    Since you're oh so much more mature than the rest of us self righteous Americans, you take your ass out there and breathe in that poison while YOU help clean the Ocean-

    May 19, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mz. V

    I mean David, you sound like a BP or government employee with that jargon you talking about. That's big business GREED!
    This has nothing to do with "oil addiction". You're trying to convince us that we are the problem; but the probem was that BP execs were warned about the dangers at the rig and they argued to continue- out of greed!

    This is bigger that you , me, this country.. this about the world and how much money can be made from that crude oil. If America isn't the buyer of this product someone will buy it! we're not the only one's who use oil and fuel you know...

    Do me a favor though:
    Whlie you're billowing in self-pity jump in the hole with the BP execs and help plug it with your ass like Marcia said!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. David

    cleaning up oil spills is what I used to do for living. I dedicated 7 years of my life to it. So suck it.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. David

    I jumped on the bandwagon after Exxon. Sure they screwed up but you still by there gas and their profits are bigger than BP's. There was a lot of bickering then. 20 years later we still haven't learned anything. Now I say again put your boat in the water and go help out. I've been there and done that and it hasen't change a thing.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. buffbob

    why aren't they sucking the oil off of the top of water with big tankers and then refining oi. oil always floats to top of water. this is so elemental why is it not being done.
    also, why can'y they cap hole with huge boulders or explode a charge and let the surrounding sea wall collapse on the hole and exactly how much oil is there under the pipe to escape. the geologists must know this. is it an endless supply that won't stop. noone has said anything about the amount of oil they expected to get from this oil deposit.
    i am no expert and don't pretend to be!!! the execs at the companies(along with the government hacks) responsible should be charged with negligence and treason to the american people and to the world for that matter and should not be permitted to drill another hole.

    May 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May, 2010

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Here’s a contingency plan that has patented technology and a process that really works.

    1. We found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that would have extracted up to 95% of the oil spill contaminants from seeded surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, before it hit land fall.
    2. Our product is a, “Modified Oil Spill Environmental Sponge” dubbed M.O.S.E.S., it is a ¼” to ½” product that can be used to absorb oil contaminants from both “fresh water and salt water” surface oil spills. Our tests have concluded that one ton of product will absorb 125 gallons of oil in less than one hour. Simply put it will absorb approximately one half of its weight in oil. M.O.S.E.S. collects/absorbs oil not water. After saturation M.O.S.E.S. will only contain about 1.4% water. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to other kinds of wildlife including humans. A fifteen minute test will prove this process works.
    3. Our plan is full circle and includes staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    4. Due to the urgencies to reduce the impact on the environment and the magnitude of this spill, our plan required partnering with the Coast Guard and other organizations that were already being used to provide staging, seeding and reclaim operations.
    5. Seeding operations were to be handled in essentially the same way they were being done, with minor and/or no modifications to airborne or aquatic equipment that would handle spreading ¼” to ½” particulates.
    6. Re-claim operations required the same booms, scoops, pumps and barge operations, that were being used.
    7. Re-processing operations proposed a permanent emissions free plant for processing oil, sand and other like materials into re-usable fuels and commodities. The plant would take approximately ninety to one hundred and fifty days to construct and would become a permanent part of a states fast action response to future oil spills.
    8. Our plan would have first, assisted with the on-going damage control operations in the gulf; second, it could have been put into operation within seven days; third, it would have become a $30,000,000.00 per year financial benefit to the communities that embraced staging and plant processing operations.
    9. This plan will greatly reduced the time and costs associated with this kind of oil spill in the future. We are confident that this type of pro-active plan would become a template for other high risk (oceanic) areas.
    So, why was this plan given no consideration at all? It is not a question of if another spill will happen, but when! The only excuses we have been able to come up with that, we are sure you are going to here are, as follows:
    a. BP, News Networks and Government Agencies didn’t have the time to consider a pro-active long term plan?
    b. We were crack pots when, this technology is patented and the product could be tested in fifteen minutes?
    c. BP has it under control as, they have done this before? Yes and, crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results! We need to get past these smoke screens and prepare for future spills.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We’d love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is listening.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail:
    CC: BP., CNN, FOX NEWS, NOAA, Governors of: AL., FL., LA., MS., And TX.

    May 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Craig N. Barthelmas

    ATTENTION!! The PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN listed above will not plug oil leaks but, it will address five major problems; two of witch, are concerns that have not been addressed in the media or in the government.
    1. It truly is a LONG TERM-CONTINGENCY PLAN. It will help the community rebuild revenues while providing a fast action operational plan for future oil spills. Yes! Future oil spills will surely occur, despite future prevention efforts!
    2. This plan is full circle and would included staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s, oil filled sands and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    3. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to humans and/or other forms of wildlife. Oil, feed stock and sand processing are near emissions free processes.
    4. It will generate $30,000,000.00 worth of new revenues for the communities that embrace staging and plant processing operations. The plant would remain in full operation after the clean-up is done.
    5. It will also add about forty new jobs to the community. This is not only a plan to help with short term clean up’s, it will also have a positive long term and lasting effect on the community as well.
    We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to mobilize volunteers to help minimize their cost. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies this plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on spills they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. The OMRS-100 technology is patented and, M.O.S.E.S. (The oil absorbent) can be tested in less than fifteen minutes!
    As always our government is seeking a short term quickie (political talk) so we can get a long term scr**ing! Has anyone mentioned where they (BP) plan to put and/or dispose of all of that contaminated; oil, sand and material? We are pretty sure that without intervention it will be in somebody’s back yard, neatly hidden from sight, killing something else. Don’t you think that any oil spill plan should at least consider: Prevention, Mobilization, Extraction and Disposal Operations?
    Thank you for your time. We would love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is as concerned as we are.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail:

    May 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Russ Lynn

    This oil spill, (disaster seems more fitting), shouldn't be all that upsetting nor puzzling to ones who understand and believe the Bible. To help you with this read Psalm 37:29, ("The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it") To help this make more sense to you consider Rev. 11:18 , "the time finally came for God to bring to ruin those ruining the earth".

    May 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. barbara

    I agree with everyone's comments, especially you, Tom. We need to forget about helping the Hispanics get jobs and Social Security numbers, getting the Health Care plan passed ( which, as far as I am concerned, was just another "Obama Distraction" from what is REALLY going on in the world), and get the HECK out if Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, etc.
    Let's get back to OUR country, fix the HUGE messes we have created here. Right now the OIL SPILL should be our highest priority. It is all about GREED,and this country, its people and politicians, are addicted to it!! We never really fix a problem; the Media just moves our focus onto a different topic in the Headlines. Most Americans believe anything that is written in their newspapers; Wake up!!! It is time we start questioning our Government; it is NOT "by and for the people".
    Obama should stop playing the "Blame Game", his favorite pastime. For once, he needs to admit he had no idea what was going on, and take some proactive measures to have BP correct things NOW!!! Enough B.S. for the American citizens.!!

    June 7, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
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