I am sure by now that everyone is aware of the massive (though ill fated) effort to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I am certain that for the past few weeks you have all seen the footage of oil covered birds and fish washing ashore, of befuddled oil company execs trying desperately not to come off as the planet destroying, heartless corporate vampires they really are, and of that ominous blob just floating about just off the Gulf shores.
And while it has become public knowledge that BP and our government has been "downplaying" the severity of the oil spill, as well as the sheer volume of oil exploding out of the massive leak, it might interest you to know that even the most recent staggering figures as to the amount of oil currently floating along out there might still be a gross underestimation.
On May 15, the New York Times made this statement:
"Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes."
That report was followed by a report from The Associated Press which alleged that a second oil plume- roughly 22 miles long by 6 miles wide- had been found in the Gulf.
This brings us to today, when The Washington Post is reporting that a third plume has been discovered:
"A Louisiana scientist said his crew had located another vast plume of oily globs, miles in the opposite direction. James H. Cowan Jr., a professor at Louisiana State University, said his crew on Wednesday found a plume of oil in a section of the gulf 75 miles west of the source of the leak.
Cowan said that his crew sent a remotely controlled submarine into the water, and found it full of oily globules, from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a golf ball…. Cowan said the oil at this site was so thick that it covered the lights on the submarine.
“It almost looks like big wet snowflakes, but they’re brown and black and oily,” Cowan said. The submarine returned to the surface entirely black, he said.
Cowan said that the submarine traveled about 400 feet down, close to the sea floor, and found oil all the way down. Trying to find the edges of the plume, he said the submarine traveled miles from side to side.
“We really never found either end of it,” he said. He said he did not know how wide the plume actually was, or how far it stretched away to the west."
Oh, and it gets worse...
Turns out that the BP plan of using dispersant chemicals to help break down the oil isn't helping matters at all. In fact, it might be making things worse...
Also reported by The Washington Post:
"Cowan’s finding underscores concerns about oil moving under the surface, perhaps because of dispersant chemicals that have broken it up into smaller globules. BP officials have played down the possibility of undersea oil plumes.
This discovery seems to confirm the fears of some scientists that — because of the depth of the leak and the heavy use of chemical “dispersants” — this spill was behaving differently than others. Instead of floating on top of the water, it may be moving beneath it.
That would be troubling because it could mean the oil would slip past coastal defenses such as “containment booms” designed to stop it on the surface. Already, scientists and officials in Louisiana have reported finding thick oil washing ashore despite the presence of floating booms.
It would also be a problem for hidden ecosystems deep under the gulf. There, scientists say, the oil could be absorbed by tiny animals and enter a food chain that builds to large, beloved sport-fish like red snapper. It might also glom on to deep-water coral formations, and cover the small animals that make up each piece of coral.
“You’re almost like a deer in the headlights when you’re watching this. You don’t know what to say,” Cowan said. He said the oil’s threat to undersea ecosystems “is really starting to scare us.”"
It's the end of the world as we know it...
Scary shit, huh kids...
An ecological nightmare that we seemingly can neither stop from worsening nor clean up.
And there seems to be no end to the bad news coming out of this story.
No way to stop the leak from gushing...
Dead animals are washing up on Gulf coast shores...
The heavy scent of crude oil lingering in the air of Gulf coast cities...
Reports of "Oil Rain" occurring in Florida...
A living storm of locust and the death of the first born?Let's keep our fingers crossed that some big brain on one of our country's Ivory Towers can figure out a way to take care of this shit and fast before this spill fucks us for generations to come...