August 19th, 2010
08:11 PM ET

Researchers say they saw 22-mile plume in Gulf

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said they detected a plume of hydrocarbons in June that was at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to the institution, the 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume of trapped hydrocarbons provides at least a partial answer to recent questions asking where all the oil has gone as surface slicks shrink and disappear.

"These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume" in the Gulf, said Christopher Reddy, a Woods Hole marine geochemist and oil spill expert. He is one of the authors of the study, which appears in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science.


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  1. someone

    Black Planet – Oil Only Ocean –

    August 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |

      >>> the Earth could be KILLED by many (and large like oceans) oil spills >>>

      August 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      The academic scientists seem pretty pessimistic. I heard that the Gulf is okay now. BP just released some pictures of penguins, walruses and orcas frolicking in the clean waters of the Gulf of Mexico...Yeah!

      Uhh...wait, penguins? Oh geez, did BP photoshop again?

      FUNNY, check it out.

      August 20, 2010 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. DoTheMath

    This claimed plume seems to be about 10,000 times as large as the entire volume of oil released in the spill. 260 million gallons would only occupy a volume of about 100 by 100 by 100 meters, not 22 miles long and 650 feet high!

    August 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donovan

      The plume would not be pure oil, – it would be particulates highly dispersed and mixed with the water volume.

      August 20, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Monique

    Lets face reality. Oil is heavier than water. The amount of time and oil that has continuously spilled from the ruptured pipeline, all the alleged capturing, burning and dispersing, and all the oil that was missed had to sink!

    BP wants everyone to believe that they have done their job and got all the oil and it's over. If you believe this, then you have been hoodwinked and bamboozled. Monetarily BP has taken a bit of a hit and they are not about to spend anymore money cleaning up an oil plume. However, they should be prosecuted for the irreparable damage they've caused to the environment.

    August 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Monique

    The Gulf of Mexico will never recover from this environmental disaster and neither will the people that surround the Gulf of Mexico. I have only childhood memories of the times that I and pass generations of my family enjoyed the livelihood of the Gulf of Mexico. There will be nothing left for future generations to enjoy. The selfish fat cats place their monetary gain over and above that of humanity. This is a sad world will live in today.

    August 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • BP

      And you know this to be a fact?? What's the basis for your statement? Or, are you only speculating? Please produce support for your statements that "The Gulf of Mexico will never recover from this environmental disaster ", and "There will be nothing left for future generations to enjoy." Unless you have support to prove those statements, you're statement is at best irresponsible; and, at worst a slap in the face of the people in the Gulf region whose livelihood depends on the Gulf... those people that will fight to try and recover from this awful situation.

      August 24, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BP

      ... and, I not affiliated with "BP"... those happen to be my initials. I'm as appalled as anybody by the actions of British Petroleum (BP) after the accident.

      August 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Onwukeme Chikelue John

    I think the plume should be a hydrocarbon contained in crude that has realized fractional distillation due to heat from the environment, which sinks because the hydrocarbon is lighter than oil.

    August 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |