Researchers say they saw 22-mile hydrocarbon plume in Gulf

Thursday, August 19, 2010
By Paul Martin

CNN.com
August 19, 2010

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.

Researchers saw the plume over two weeks in June but were chased away by Hurricane Alex, Reddy told CNN Radio.

“I have no idea where those compounds are now,” he said.

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