Oil Driven to Gulf Floor Via 'Slime Highway'

Huge layer of oily residue found on seabed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2010 4:51 AM CDT
Updated Sep 14, 2010 6:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Scientists trying to figure out what happened to the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster believe most of it likely sank to the seafloor instead of evaporating or being eaten by microbes. Researchers taking sediment samples say they have found evidence that a huge amount of oily residue is on the seafloor. They believe the oil was carried to the bottom by a "slime highway" of mucus emitted by oil-eating microorganisms, MNSBC reports.

Dead shrimp, zooplankton, and other invertebrates have been found in the oily layer of muck on the seafloor, which scientists say stretches for dozens of miles in all directions. The researchers say the oil on the seafloor appears to be a recent deposit, and not the result of seepage from the bottom. They plan tests to determine whether the oil is, as they suspect, from BP's well.
(Read more Deepwater Horizon stories.)

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