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View Diary: Daily Kos Gulf Watchers ROV #372 - Still Leaking at the Mudline - BP's Gulf Catastrophe (315 comments)

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  •  In fairness NPR got it wrong in their title. The (7+ / 0-)

    scientist never called it a layer of oil. That was just sloppy reporting by NPR.

    •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
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      Wee Mama, Yasuragi

      In the interview, Joye said "It's starting to sound like a tremendous amount of oil. And we haven't even sampled close to the wellhead yet"

      •  Oily material or oily sediment. Oil would not be (0+ / 0-)

        Under water by itself until it is quite aged because bulk fresh oil floats.

        •  I'm not sure I see your point (1+ / 0-)
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          Are you suggesting that oil mixed with sediment, should no longer be considered oil?

          I mean, no-one's actually suggesting that there is a layer of pure oil ranging from inches to feet thick of an area of several thousand square miles. That would be patently absurd. But it's also far beyond what is necessary to establish a potential ecological hazard.

          Another quote:

          "We have to [chemically] fingerprint it and link it to the Deepwater Horizon," [Prof. Joye] says. "But the sheer coverage here is leading us all to come to the conclusion that it has to be sedimented oil from the oil spill, because it's all over the place."

          Emphasis mine.

          I know you at least skimmed the part about mucus playing a role, I saw you make reference to it elsewhere, but I'm not sure you quite got the point they were angling for:

          "The organisms that break down oil excrete mucus — copious amounts of mucus," Joye says. "So it's kind of like a slime highway from the surface to the bottom. Because eventually the slime gets heavy and it sinks."

          That sticky material can pick up oil particles as it sinks.

          In terms of the potential impact:

          But the ecological impacts of oil on the seafloor depend on the depth of the ocean where it lies. Joye's findings so far have found oil in depths ranging from 300 to 4,000 feet. Shallower waters, in particular, are potentially important not just for life on the bottom but for the entire marine ecosystem.

          "A lot of fish go down to the bottom and eat and then come back up," [University of South Florida researcher Dave] Hollander says. "And if all their food sources are derived from the bottom, then indeed you could have this impact."

          The takeaway for me is that there is a substantial quantity of undecomposed oil remaining in the environment.

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