Scientists discover oil-containing “dirty blizzard” — May still be falling to bottom of Gulf of Mexico


Scientists discover ‘blizzard' silting oil on bottom of Gulf, Sarasota Herald Tribune by Kate Spinner, May 26, 2011:

A mixture of oil and dead organic particles may still be falling to the deep bottom of the northern Gulf of Mexico, potentially harming the base of a food web that supports all kinds of sea life, from giant whales and blue-fin tuna to grouper and snapper.

In water thousands of feet deep, scientists have discovered a "dirty blizzard" that deposited more than three inches oil mixed with decayed plant and animal material near the site of the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout last year.

A quarter to half of the oil that spewed from the blown wellhead - between 186 million to 227 million gallons - is still unaccounted for and thought to be lingering in the deep sea, said Benjamin Flower, a geological oceanographer with the University of South Florida. [...]

Cancer-causing chemicals from the crude, such as benzene and toluene, may still be lingering in the ecosystem because they do not degrade easily.

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