Friday, April 15, 2011

Gulf’s Complexity and Resilience Seen in Studies of Oil Spill

In the year since the wellhead beneath the Deepwater Horizon rig began spewing rust-colored crude into the northern Gulf of Mexico, scientists have been working frantically to figure out what environmental harm really came of the largest oil spill in American history. Still, there has been some independent scientific work done in the gulf, and it has produced some good news. Because the spill occurred at very high pressure a mile beneath the ocean’s surface, some of the oil was reduced to tiny droplets that remained suspended thousands of feet deep in a fine mist. Terry C. Hazen, who leads the ecology department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, took 170 samples from around the Deepwater Horizon between July 27 and Aug. 26 last year, just weeks after the wellhead was capped. More>