Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oil Still in Gulf of Mexico Waters

Phytoplankton plume in the Gulf of Mexico off of the coast of Louisiana.
The plume is the green-colored region closest the shoreline.
Phytoplankton is an important nutrient for many sea
organisms. (Photo by NASA/Courtesy of Wikimedia)

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20,
which resulted in the death of 11 workers, and caused
the Macondo well to leak for three months.
(Photo by US Coast Guard/Courtesy of SkyTruth)

Scientists claim that much oil can still be found in the gulf

By Nicholas Moroni

Despite President Obama's recent Gulf Coast PR trip, aimed at reassuring the public that much of the region's waters are safe and the area "is open for business," and the Department of the Interior's claim that three-quarters of the surmised 200 million gallons of oil that leaked from the busted Macondo well has either dissipated or been dispersed, scientists insist that danger lurks on the ocean floor.

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times cites analysis by scientists claiming that significant portions of the oil can still be found on the seabed. Droplets of oil have appeared among the sediments in an underwater canyon off the coast of Louisiana that, prior to the Macondo well being capped last month, was the sight of clouds of leaking oil for months. That canyon, known as the DeSoto Canyon hosts an area rife with phytoplankton - tiny particles in plants integral to the diets of marine life in the region. Scientists worry that sea creatures eating the plants will be ingesting unknown levels of toxicity that may, in turn, be passed on to humans that eat seafood.

"The idea that this could have an impact on the food web and on the biological system is certainly a reality," Dave Hollander, a marine geochemist, told a Web writer for WUSF, a National Public Radio branch in Florida.

Hollander and a team of scientists from the University of South Florida underwent research for 10 days on a vessel, traveling throughout the region.

Furthermore, several scientists also told the Associated Press it is their opinion that 80 percent of the oil can still be found under the water.

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