BP disagrees with scientists about underwater oil plumes

Source Michigan’s 9&10 news

Scientists from several universities say large undersea plumes have been set adrift by the Gulf oil spill. But BP CEO Tony Hayward disagrees. He says BP’s sampling shows “no evidence” that oil was suspended in large masses beneath the surface. Hayward says “The oil is on the surface.”


But Tony, how could the oil be on the surface if you are dispersing it? Do you really want us to believe the dispersed oil just disappeared? Related: Gulf Oil Spill: BP Trying To Hide Millions of Gallons of Toxic Oil?

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La. scientist locates another vast oil plume in the gulf – Washington Post

A day after scientists reported finding a huge “plume” of oil extending miles east of the leaking BP well, on Friday a Louisiana scientist said his crew had located another vast plume of oily globs, miles in the opposite direction.

James H. Cowan Jr., a professor at Louisiana State University, said his crew on Wednesday found a plume of oil in a section of the gulf 75 miles northwest of the source of the leak.

Cowan said that his crew sent a remotely controlled submarine into the water, and found it full of oily globules, from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a golf ball. Unlike the plume found east of the leak — in which the oil was so dissolved that contaminated water appeared clear — Cowan said the oil at this site was so thick that it covered the lights on the submarine.

“It almost looks like big wet snowflakes, but they’re brown and black and oily,” Cowan said. The submarine returned to the surface entirely black, he said.

Cowan said that the submarine traveled about 400 feet down, close to the sea floor, and found oil all the way down. Trying to find the edges of the plume, he said the submarine traveled miles from side to side.

“We really never found either end of it,” he said. He said he did not know how wide the plume actually was, or how far it stretched away to the west. He said the plume was found in an area that had already been closed to fishing by the federal government.

Cowan’s finding underscores concerns about oil moving under the surface, perhaps because of dispersant chemicals that have broken it up into smaller globules. BP officials have played down the possibility of undersea oil plumes.

This discovery seems to confirm the fears of some scientists that — because of the depth of the leak and the heavy use of chemical “dispersants” — this spill was behaving differently than others. Instead of floating on top of the water, it may be moving beneath it.

That would be troubling because it could mean the oil would slip past coastal defenses such as “containment booms” designed to stop it on the surface. Already, scientists and officials in Louisiana have reported finding thick oil washing ashore despite the presence of floating booms. (read the rest here)

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