Gulf Oil Spill


On April 20, 2010 a Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Many people are opposed to fracking and off-shore drilling as they create too many environmental problems and natural disasters. This situation will have a temporary resolution but the distraction caused by the oil goes on forever.

BP oil spill: Undersea oil remains in Gulf of Mexico   BBC - August 20, 2010
A study of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill has confirmed the presence of a toxic chemical residue one kilometre below the sea surface. This new research confirms that a plume, or cloud, does indeed exist below the surface. But it also shows that the amount is relatively small - possibly less than 0.1% of the total amount spilled.


Nine years later ...

Team investigates consequences of Deepwater Horizon oil spill   PhysOrg - June 11, 2019
If you were able to stand on the bottom of the seafloor and look up, you would see flakes of falling organic material and biological debris cascading down the water column like snowflakes in a phenomenon known as marine snow. Recent disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, however, have added a new element to this natural process: oil.

During these events, the natural marine snow interacts with oil and dispersants to form what's known as marine oil snow as it sinks from the surface through water column to the seafloor sediments.

The danger with marine oil snow is that it transfers oil and its negative impacts from the water column to the sediments on the bottom of the seafloor, delivering a more diverse suite of oxygenated compounds to sediments and deep-sea ecosystems. These oxygenated forms of many oil compounds are more toxic to organisms in the sediments than are the non-oxygenated forms.

While this result may lessen the impact on near-surface organisms like fish and birds and shellfish, it transfers the oil to the deep ocean where it impacts fauna, deep corals, and fish down there, where adverse impacts were documented after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.





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