Ixtoc spill still contaminates coastlines; is that northern Gulf's fate?, Press-Register, September 12, 2010:
Upon arriving at Enmedio Island in the Mexican state of Veracruz this June [Texas A&M University researcher Wes Tunnell, who witnessed and studied the Ixtoc oil disaster of 1979] quickly found hardened tar mats — essentially the same material as asphalt spread on highways — among the reefs.
“It was, I’d say, 5 to 10 percent of the size that it was 30 years ago,” Tunnell said. “But the message was, it’s still there.”
Between an inch and three inches thick — compared to the 12-15 inches of its initial thickness — the tar mats were camouflaged by hard and, in some cases, algae-covered, outer shells, Tunnell said.
When it was cracked open, however, the rock’s nature was clear. Tunnell said he could “still see some sheen or shine of the oily material inside of it.” And, “You could smell petroleum if you put it up to your nose, which kind of surprised me after 30 years.”
Read the article here.