Huge Oil Plumes Found Deep Under Water

It's more evidence that the spill is bigger than estimates
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2010 10:19 PM CDT
Erica Miller, left, and Heather Nevell, clean a Brown Pelican Saturday at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Buras, La.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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(Newser) – Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico tell the New York Times they're seeing a "shocking amount of oil" deep under the surface. They've located several huge plumes, the largest of which is 10 miles long and 3 miles wide, lending more weight to the speculation that the spill is much, much larger than official estimates.

It's not clear why the plumes are forming underwater as they are, but one theory is that the chemical dispersants now being used are at the root of it. In any event, they're depleting oxygen in the water, which could eventually cause major problems for sea life. As the Washington Post explains, scientists dread the potential impact of the spill on the complex—and largely unexplored—ecosystem of the ocean floor.

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