Monstrous underwater oil plumes found in US Gulf Coast

May 16, 2010 by Post Team 

Monstrous underwater oil plumes found in US Gulf CoastMonstrous underwater oil plumes found in US Gulf Coast:Scientists have found large offshore oil feathers, 10 miles (16km) long and a mile wide, in the Gulf of Mexico after platform disaster last month.

An expert from the University of Georgia warned oxygen levels had dropped 30% in some areas of the sea, and could take decades to repair the damage.

BP is still trying to insert a tube into the siphon jet and ship crude oil on the surface.

The U.S. government BP is required to make clear its commitment to pay damages.

Researchers at the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology say they have detected several large oil stains lurking beneath the sea surface to depths of 4,000 feet (1,200 m).

Dead zones

The finding suggests that the magnitude of potential environmental disaster is much worse than feared from the drilling rig in deep water drilling horizon exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers.

Samantha Joye, marine sciences professor at the University of Georgia, said: “It could take years, possibly decades, for the system to recover from an infusion of this amount of oil and gas.

“We’ve never seen anything like it before. It is impossible to imagine the impact.”

Experts say that oxygen depletion is likely to continue, endangering sea life and increasing the prospect of underwater dead zones.

Scientists said the chemical dispersants BP has been under water may prevent dumping oil rises to the top of the ocean.

Official estimates doubted

The oil giant has said the chemicals, which began to unfold on Friday, have already resulted in less oil to the surface.

Some scientists doubt the official estimates of the oil flow rate, saying the widely repeated figure of 5,000 barrels per day dramatically underestimates the actual amount.

On Saturday, BP failed to latest in a string of 6 inches (15 cm) of the tube in an oil pipeline damaged a kilometer below the surface.

Like a long straw, which is intended to suck the oil into a ship on the surface, and a cap that surrounds it would stem oil leakage.

The tube can capture more than three-quarters of the leak, BP should also contain a smaller spill in the nearby seabed.

A week ago, BP tried to cover the well with a picture of 100 tons, but left after it became crystal-encrusted ice.

On Saturday, Obama called for immediate clarification of BP in its commitment to pay damages for the spill.

The officials said that BP wanted to be sure not to honor commitments to limit the cost to a U.S. legal limit $ 75 million (£ 50m).

It is unclear what prompted the letter as BP said last week it was irrelevant cap and an end to all costs.

Mississippi has become the third U.S. state for oil have washed up on its shores, along with Louisiana and Alabama.

The spill threatens to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez leaks as the worst environmental disaster the United States.

Source : BBC News

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