bp oil spillThe BP (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill created a massive 22-mile long plume of oily soup at the bottom of the ocean, scientists said in a report released Thursday.

The 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume of trapped oils sitting 3,000 feet below the surface provides some clues to where all the oil has gone as surface slicks shrink and disappear.

"These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume" in the Gulf, said Christopher Reddy, a Woods Hole Oceanographic oil spill expert and one of the authors of the report, which appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Science.

Meanwhile, in an appearance before Congress today, Bill Lehr, a senior scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said "most of [the oil] is still in the environment." His statements appeared to contradict the government's official report from two weeks ago that he wrote, which suggested that 74% of the oil from the spill had been captured or broken down.

Persistent Plume

Using underwater vehicles, the scientists were able to distinguish the petroleum hydrocarbons in this underwater cloud came from the Apr. 20 oil rig disaster and not from a natural occurrence.

They also found that the ocean's microbes are only slowly eating away at the underwater slick, which is thousands of times more concentrated than other naturally occurring oil leaks on the ocean's floor. This slow pace of degradation makes the plume potentially deadly to marine life.

The monitoring has shown that the oil already "is persisting for longer periods than we would have expected," said Woods Hole scientist Richard Camilli. "Many people speculated that subsurface oil droplets were being easily biodegraded. Well, we didn't find that. We found it was still there."

Stretching for 22 Miles

The scientists found that the plume sits near the blowout, offering conclusive evidence it came from the well, which gushed unabated for 87 days until it was temporarily capped on July 15. The plume moved very slowly from the source of the blowout and now stretches out about 22 miles.

It's not clear why the oil hasn't risen to the surface, scientists said.

Scientist in the study predicted that the plume will last for a year or more, but that's still speculation. Another group of scientists from the University of Georgia is going to take over where Woods Hole left off and continue tracking the slick.

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MR.STEPHEN BATOG

If This Plume is long as you say it is, Why is no one come up with an idea how to collect it. IT's free money, just waiting for some one. We can fish, and use nets why can't we use an type of oil contament net. Then suck it up. Boil it and make money. On land where they pump oil up from the deep, some brine water come up with raw oil. they seprate it and send it to the refinery where they boil it and get the hydracarbons out of it and make money from it. 200 year ago in this country they were looking for water. Drilling for it. And sometimes they would come with oil well. Black water, no good. Till someone found out by boiling it. And distilling it. It would burn. Years later they Black Gold. So all the mess they are collecting can be refined, reused. We are a country of Thinkers and Doers lets get it done. Why not BP's paying for it.

August 21 2010 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lulu0510

WANT JOBS?. DUMP OBAMA!

August 20 2010 at 10:56 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lulu0510's comment
cmdrhlamb

yea, 'cause there were so many when the shrub was ruling...

August 20 2010 at 12:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jmetcalf1955

oil has a specific gravity less than that of water, according to the laws of physics it will float on the surface. this story is yet another scare tactic to prolong the "OH MY GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!" mood in the gulf follow the money, find out who is trying to benefit from falsely making you believe this

August 20 2010 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jpalazzo10@yahoo.com

OVERTHROW THE OLIGARCHY! THE TOP 5 PERCENT RULE AND CONTROL WITH THEIR MONEY AND POWER, THE OTHER 95 PERCENT OF US!! THE PEOPLE NEED TO NATIONALIZE AND CONFISCATE THE ASSETS OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT CAUSED THIS CURRENT "MAN-MADE" CRISIS!! UNBRIDLED CAPITALISM IS DANGEROUS! WHY? ANSWER- BECAUSE IT CATERS TO THE LOWEST NATURE OF MAN, WHICH IS GREED, BOTH CORPORATE AND PERSONAL GREED!! WHAT IS NEEDED IS CAPITALISM, (IF YOU MUST HAVE IT), WITH "CONTROLS!"

August 20 2010 at 12:04 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jpalazzo10@yahoo.com's comment
stenafj

Palazzo, Funny, I did not think anybody would introduce pure communism in USA. Perhaps it is better if you move to North Korea 1

August 20 2010 at 10:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
yesitkenbe

Duh, do you really think it was going to just evaporate?

August 19 2010 at 11:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
otterdad48

Unfortunately we do not get to choose who we vote for jk. The status quo lets us choose between Pepsi or Coke. We choose between the lesser of two evils. The media makes sure that no one gets elected who might actually change anything. The media from FOX to MSNBC all make thier money shilling the products and services of the same corporate entities whose lobbyists are working day and night to subvert democracy in favor of the corporatocracy.

August 19 2010 at 7:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jkennedy806

I am really beginning to distrust anything anyone says in Washington. LIE and GREED that's all. In the summer of recovery the unemployment rate hit 500,000. BP claims "the check is in the mail?" Or is it? And everything is getting better. Yeah it will get better a week after the election -- vote them all out

August 19 2010 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jkennedy806's comment
Kenneth

What do you expect they are politicians. The worse breed of people know to man. They have no honor or respect for anyone but themselves.

August 19 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
margotsis

now the location is known, but what can be done about it? Good luck on this one.

August 19 2010 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to margotsis's comment
Kenneth

Good question.They have those boats that take on the oil and water ,remove the oil and return the water to the gulf. With that why can't they lower hoses to the area of the oil and suck it up as they did with surface oil?

August 19 2010 at 8:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply