Along with the death of scores of marine animals and seabirds, one of the main concerns during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the impact on the food chain. A new study clarifies that impact: Hydrocarbons from the Macondo well trickled into the ocean food chain via its tiniest members, zooplankton.
A newly designed metallic soap reacts to a magnetic field, a first in soap research that could lead to better control of cleanup chemicals in situations like aquatic oil spills. A magnet can overcome both gravity and the surface tension between water and oil to draw the soap away, ensuring it can be recovered after it’s used.
The second-place finalist did a little more than half that well
By Rebecca Boyle and Clay DillowPosted 10.11.2011 at 4:00 pm 9 Comments
Last summer, as sweet crude oil gushed unabated into the Gulf of Mexico, the overriding emotion was one of frustration. It wasn't just directed at the well owner, BP, or at rig-builders Transocean and Halliburton, or even the government and its difficult-to-understand oil flow estimates. The inability to shut off the well was one thing — but why, in an era of nanotubes and autonomous robots and invisibility cloaks, couldn't we just clean it up?
Rainbow-tinted slicks and globules of oil have been cropping up in the Gulf of Mexico during the past 10 days or so, and it’s not clear where it is all coming from. BP, whose Macondo well spewed 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf last summer after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, has denied that the oil is coming from that well. But some scientists say it’s certainly possible.
Towering flames illuminated the pre-dawn darkness, casting shadows on the ship Ocean Intervention III as it floated over the sunken remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The resonant hum of helicopters fused with the roar of fires on either side of the ship, and Chris Reddy could feel the heat on his face.
The night of June 21, 2010, Reddy and colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were whisked off their research vessel Endeavor to collect samples directly from the blown Macondo well, which had been spewing oil and natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico for two months. They had 12 hours to do something that had never been done before: Use a robot arm to stick a special bottle directly into the hot hydrocarbons. Now, a year later, their analysis explains just what came out of the well, and sheds more light on what happened to it.
Following the greatest environmental catastrophe in recent history, the lowest life forms among us have been the biggest heroes. Once again, scientists have found that bacteria ate up the remnants of the the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Within four months of the oil spill, bacterial blooms had removed more than 200,000 metric tons of dissolved methane, returning concentrations to normal background levels.
Greenpeace is known for its controversial "actions." Take, for example, their action late last month against oil giant Chevron, in which two activists dangled from the anchor chain of a drill ship to keep it from reaching its destination off the Shetland Islands. Perhaps lesser known is the organization's support of independent scientific research, like its current campaign to investigate the marine impact of the BP oil spill—which occurred six months ago today—and the use of toxic dispersant to clean it up.
Researchers on board a ship in the Gulf of Mexico have found a layer of oil at least two inches thick, nestled in the depths a mile below the surface, that they believe came from the blown-out BP well.
Samantha Joye, a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, set sail August 21 on the research vessel Oceanus and has been posting blog updates throughout the mission. Over the weekend, she wrote that her team found a layer of oil in a valley on the seafloor, about 18 miles from the wellhead. It is two inches thick in some spots, and it rests on top of recently dead sea creatures like shrimp and tubeworms.
By Dan Bracaglia Posted 09.14.2010 at 2:11 pm 1 Comment
It’s hard to believe, given the tragic scenario, that anyone could find beauty in such an ugly catastrophe as the Gulf oil spill, but Canadian photographer Edward Burtynysky was able to do just that in his newly released aerial images of the disaster.