Methane 'Dead Zones' Spotted in Gulf Spill

Methane release threatening Gulf food chain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2010 2:13 AM CDT
Updated Jul 1, 2010 3:13 AM CDT
A dead jellyfish floats in oil in the Gulf of Mexico southwest of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – There's a lot more than just oil spewing out of BP's busted well and that spells still more trouble for marine life, experts warn. The well is leaking vast amounts of methane and other gases, triggering the growth of microbes and creating oxygen-starved "dead zones," where fish and other marine life can't survive, scientists tell the Guardian.

Dead zones caused by fertilizer runoff were already a serious problem in the Gulf of Mexico before the BP spill, and scientists say the methane release will create a whole new set of problems for Gulf fisheries. Researchers warn that methane concentrations are at 100,000 times normal levels in some deep-water zones, threatening to wipe out plankton and other organisms at the bottom of the food chain.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |