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. gaetano marano

    don't wait more!
    stop the oil spill now!

    May 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |

    amazing how long it has taken for this situation to be taken care. Man has to be welll prepared for catastrophic situations, it goes to show you that we are not. !We think it's never going to happen. I knew it was a matter of time, before something lke this would happen in the Gulf. Obamas mistake was wanting to drill near these coasts Too many people are at danger, and so is the economy, fishing industry, that' right our beaches, the animal, the ecosystem, the waters, it was stupid to drill here, BP should go and drill over in Europe. Leave the fishes and birds alone. Idiots!! Like I said once before in an ariticle its a matter of going back to eating grass, like the animals do . Everything else is bad.

    May 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom

    Well it’s nice to know that much oil is just looking for a place to wash in. And it’s comforting to know BP has no plan to address it. It’ clear they don’t have the resources to address it either. I love how “OUR” government is trying to save the world. But we are can’t even help stop this oil leak! I think it is time to pull the teeth out of “OUR” runaway government. And limit it’s authority to US matters only. We don’t need to pouring tax money into every nations that asks for it. & we don’t need to feeding and giving free healthcare to 16 million illegal Mexicans. We don’t need to spending billions of dollars on fighting extremist all over the middle east. “OUR” government should be RIGHT NOW putting a plan in motion to address this environmental disaster it help create. & if that means pulling troops out & pushing immigrants off of federal aid, so be it! It’s time for everyone to make sacrifices to better this nation. It’s time for Obama to step off the politically correct bandwagon & it’s time for the GOP to stand on the people’s side. Between the republicans & Obama together they are the do little government. It’s time to retrain these guys that doing nothing will not win the majority’s vote. There should be an all hands on deck call to address this oil spill RIGHT NOW. & if Obama & the GOP want to stand on the sides lines with their hand’s in their pockets. Well we’ll all address that issue come November! See @ the poles everyone!

    May 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gaetano marano

    the US government should IMPOSE to BP to CLOSE the riser NOW and save the sea, rather than insist to try to save the oil

    May 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ??

      To gaetano marano : You are a fool. They have been trying to close the riser since day one. The blow out preventer (BOP) is not working so the riser can't be closed. That is the problem.

      May 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SickofOppressors

    The real problem is they are ALL bribed and word for Luciferians in high places (i.e. Rothschilds, CFR, Trilateral Commission, etc.) That includes OBama, his predessor Bush and the entire government. Lord Rothschild owns 70% of BP Oil. They don't really care about the environment. They care about getting all the resources and culling 2/3 of the masses and implementing their New World Order police state form of government. The Democans and Republocrats are nothing but a show for the public. They are all bought and paid for and compartmentalized in what they are allowed to know. They all serve the elite's agenda. If people would repent of their sins and serve Jesus Christ, He would open their eyes to all this. "The whole world lies under the deception of the wicked one." 1 John 5:19

    May 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. screaminraven

    After watching 60 Minutes last night. being an environmental engineer on call for this spill and semi retired from the corporate world all I have to say is: DAHHH, of course BP cut corners on safety and engineering. For years that tactic was more profitable. The size of this environmental disaster will come as an epiphany for most Americans only because they won't have food or water. Glad I decided never to have children, I won't have to watch them suffer like wildlife in the Gulf (God's Creation remember).

    May 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mediajackal


    May 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. marcia

    plug it up with BP executives!!
    That will work!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gaetano marano

    To Mr. ??
    ALL the attempts they've made in last month was aimed to save the OIL and NOT to STOP the oil leak and save the SEA!

    May 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • sue cali

      why didn't you burn it,on the surface,now we have a huge eco problem.

      why didn;t you burn it on the suface,30 days ago?????
      we have a big problem now.It's a shame what we have done. We have created new problems with nature.Pray for the wildlife.

      June 7, 2010 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Gearheart Anthony

    Especially in light of this new story, so much oil in the water column; Why is BP still being allowed to use chemical dispersants on the spill? They 'dispersit', but the oil doesn't go away!...Just becomes smaller microscopic particles, that can then easily enter the gills of the smallest marine creatures, which are the foundation for the entire food chain: i.e. Shrimp>small to mid-size fish>Mahi Mahi>Blue & Yellowfin Tuna>finally, Dolphins, Whales and US! Why is BP not using the many bio-friendly products out there, that can safely absorb, diminish, & even consume oil? Protest this to the EPA!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gearheart Anthony


    May 17, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Smith in Oregon

    Independent Scientists have found and proven what I have been actively complaining about since day ONE regarding the HEAVY CRUDE OIL gushing out of the Mercado Oil field exploratory well-head rupture.

    Namely, the specific crude Oil gushing out into the Gulf of Mexico IS NOT LOUISIANA LIGHT CRUDE, it is HEAVY CRUDE composed of 50% Asphalt.

    For WEEKS, BP and CNN Guests have erroneously repeated BP's talking points which include the misinformation that the crude Oil from this exploratory well is regular Louisiana Light Crude which mostly rises to the Ocean surface where it can be captured or dispersed.

    Independent Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. Their discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well is far worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.

    “There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”

    You wouldn't see that with Louisiana Light Crude which the BP mouth-pieces and the Coast Guard Admiral have been MOUTHING.

    From day one, University of Louisiana Earth Science Dept. tested a sample from this specific well, found and reported it was HEAVY CRUDE OIL with 50% composed of Asphalt.

    Over and over I have stated and shouted the BULK of the spill is beneath the surface and for the first time, independent scientists in cooperation with NOAA took a look and YES I WAS CORRECT.

    In my opinion BP are crass and callous liars, the Coast Guard Admiral likely doesn't know this is NOT regular Louisiana light crude and is simply mouthing BP's talking points who supplied him with that FALSE information.

    Why is it important? The BULK of the Heavy Crude Oil remains deep below the surface and it is very difficult to disperse or biodegrade Asphalt components.

    Folks, in a refinery Tank Farm, the largest tanks hold 500,000 gallons (1/2 Million Gallons).

    To fit just one of the located huge undersea Oil Plumes you'd need a tank 10 Miles Long, 300 foot tall and 3 Miles across!

    Imagine how many MILLIONS of gallons of crude Oil are in just one of the huge Oil plumes which is 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick.

    CNN and viewers, please do not be fooled by the BP PR spin as they repeatedly show and discuss the relatively thin layer floating across several thousand miles in the once pristine Gulf of Mexico region.

    The Bulk of the Spill consisting of many Millions of Gallons of heavy crude Oil is beneath the Ocean surface. Insist on showing video taken by Independent agency's of beneath the Gulf of Mexico's surface.

    May 17, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gaetano marano

    after the unsuccessful attempt to aspire the oil from the riser with a probe, BP has finally decided to adopt a technique called "top kill" that should halt definitely the oil spill, but, it's a complex system that needs time to start work (tentatively from the end of this week) and several days to succeed, so, in the mean time (about 10 days) 50,000 (for BP evaluation) to 700,000 (based on independent evaluation) more barrels of oil will be spilled in the ocean!!!
    that's why I insist to suggest to BP and to the DHR team to adopt NOW the simpler, faster, cheaper idea that I'm proposing in latest three days to STOP the oil spill TOMORROW just using one or more heavy cubes to put them on the riser and squeeze it until the oil leak ends

    May 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. michael nyc


    – drill deep (about 1000ft) new adjacent shaft a few feet away from old shaft – place explosive charge at bottom and fill/cover/seal with cement – explode charge to collapse wall and fill with rock, earth etc.


    insert a pipe/hose containing a shut off valve into the existing hole that would have a flange that expands inside and does not have back pressure to oil escaping – then shut off valve ...


    discharge "liquid nitrogen" into leaking pipe thru a small hose from surface inserted as far in as possible


    Remove BOP and install new BOP – whilst exchange in process pump oil to surface with proximity hoses and into tanker/barges Skim oil continually from surface

    thank you

    Michael Gruters – former faculty physics Princeton late 60'

    p.s. the use of dispersing chemicals make surface removal impossible and poisons the sea – really stupid....

    p.p.s. dome is not necessary and wasting time – oil floats to surface and can be pumped into tankers/barges -employ a flotilla of existing tankers/barges starting at epicenter of shaft leak to recover (pump skim off surface oil)

    it is not proposed to use "hair" skimmers, but hoses that submerge and as water/oil mix is pumped into tanker/barge it is replaced by same – there are many tankers/barges currently in service to other gulf rigs. – as the tanker hold fills separated water from the bottom is pumped back.

    p.p.p.s. current plan to bring oil to suface by inserting a smaller pipe does not seal the leak and is only temporary fix – what about methane gas ?

    May 18, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. pattie bee

    wait until the dead fish, turtles, dolphins and whales start washing up on shore! you aint seen nothing yet. i think our president is living in a fairy tale land and SOONER OR LATER this will HAVE to be number one afghanistan.......OIL SPILL AND NOTHING ELSE.

    you will see.

    May 18, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
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