More good news about the Gulf oil leak from Justin Gillis at the New York Times: huge plumes of oil are forming in the water and taking their time about rising to the surface. So the leak is much worse than it appears from the air (and it looks bad enough already from there).
The low end of the leak-rate estimate is now 25,000 barrels a day. The high end is 80,000. The latter is one Exxon Valdez every few days.
Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia…
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.
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