“Blankets of goopy hydrocarbons several inches thick” taint seafloor in parts of Gulf

Gulf floor fouled by bacterial oil feast, ScienceNews, February 20, 2011:

Huge quantities of oil that gushed from BP’s well blowout last spring and summer now taint the Gulf of Mexico’s seafloor, newly released video and chemical sampling data show. Within 40 miles of the damaged wellhead, the oil deposits appear extensive but patchy, and range from little spots of oil on the seafloor to localized blankets of goopy hydrocarbons several inches thick. …

But oil wasn’t the only spill-related pollution to be raining down onto the seabed. Joye described data on two chemical indicators of remnants of the burning of oil by spill-cleanup crews. Soot, which is normally not present in ocean sediment, turned up in September water samples. Joye’s team also reports finding an elevated ratio of certain combustion byproducts known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, in sediments directly under burn sites.

Read the report here.

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