Al Jazeera just published a thoroughly disturbing report on the deformed fish and shellfish that are being pulled from the Gulf in the wake of the BP oil spill. Shrimp without eyes or even eye sockets, snapper with large pink growths, undersized and misshapen crabs--the fishermen in the Gulf that Al Jazeera talked to have never seen anything like it.
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?
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.
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.
Swarms of autonomous, solar-powered towel-bots, based on a nanowire mesh, could help those oil-eating microbes clean up the Gulf of Mexico. The “Seaswarm” robot moves like a tank in water, using a conveyor belt to roll over the ocean’s surface.
Remember how we told you last week about the problem of variables when studying the Gulf oil spill? Here's another one: according to a new study, a heretofore unseen species of bacteria is eating the oil, and eating it efficiently. Thanks to these cold-loving, oil-munching bugs, the huge oil plume we learned about last week is probably gone, according to Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and principal investigator at the Energy Biosciences Institute.
"In the last three weeks, we haven't been able to detect the deepwater plume anywhere we've gone," he said in an interview. "It appears to have been completely biodegraded and diluted out. Like the surface (oil), we can no longer find it."
As of today, Wednesday, June 9, the oil spewing from the Deepwater Horizon well could have powered 38,000 cars, 3,400 trucks and 1,800 ships for a full year, according to University of Delaware professor James J. Corbett.