The general public hasn't really grasped the magnitude of the disaster yet. Horrifying images of dead birds and turtles coated in oil or struggling in the deadly, sticky mess are few and far between in the major media. Pods with dozens of bottle nosed dolphins washed up on an oil stained beach are not to be seen but eventually they will be. The tons of dispersants pumped into the gushing oil nearly a mile below the surface have created vast underwater clouds of black death. Some are headed to sea and via the loop current around and through the Florida Keys and up the Atlantic Coast while others are headed North to further coat and destroy thousands of miles of delicate and life sustaining coastline around the Gulf. We haven't seen anything yet.
Here is one example of what we're all going to be hearing about for the next several months, if not years, to come:
So while this Memorial Day is and should rightly honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifices for our way of life we should also possibly pause in memorial to the vast and beautiful Gulf and its shores which we will not see again in our lifetimes. So very sad.
Marine scientists have discovered a massive new plume of what they believe to be oil deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 22 miles (35 kilometers) from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, Alabama. The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume recorded since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.
The thick plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and is more than 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) wide, said David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at the school. Hollander said the team detected the thickest amount of hydrocarbons, likely from the oil spewing from the blown out well, at about 1,300 feet (nearly 400 meters) in the same spot on two separate days this week.
The discovery was important, he said, because it confirmed that the substance found in the water was not naturally occurring and that the plume was at its highest concentration in deeper waters. The researchers will use further testing to determine whether the hydrocarbons they found are the result of dispersants or the emulsification of oil as it traveled away from the well.
The first such plume detected by scientists stretched from the well southwest toward the open sea, but this new undersea oil cloud is headed miles inland into shallower waters where many fish and other species reproduce. The researchers say they are worried these undersea plumes may be the result of the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil a mile undersea at the site of the leak.