Not to be confused with the original mufti-layered oil plume, nor the one found Thursday running for miles east of the leak site, yet another vast plume of oil has been discovered 75 miles northwest of the leak. The new plume, in shallower water, covers the water column from the surface to the sea floor. The extent was not known yet, for unmanned submarines have traveled miles from side to side without finding the edges of the pollution.
I think this also confirms my worst suspicion - namely that the dispersants are only a ploy by BP and that the dispersants don't really help. They just hide the oil. "Out of sight - out of mind."
From the http://www.washingtonpost.com/:
A day after scientists reported finding a huge "plume" of oil extending miles east of the leaking BP well, on Friday a Louisiana scientist said his crew had located another vast plume of oily globs, miles in the opposite direction.
James H. Cowan Jr., a professor at Louisiana State University, said his crew on Wednesday found a plume of oil in a section of the gulf 75 miles northwest of the source of the leak.
Cowan said that his crew sent a remotely controlled submarine into the water, and found it full of oily globules, from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a golf ball. Unlike the plume found east of the leak -- in which the oil was so dissolved that contaminated water appeared clear -- Cowan said the oil at this site was so thick that it covered the lights on the submarine.
Cowan's finding underscores concerns about oil moving under the surface, perhaps because of dispersant chemicals that have broken it up into smaller globules. BP officials have played down the possibility of undersea oil plumes.
This discovery seems to confirm the fears of some scientists that -- because of the depth of the leak and the heavy use of chemical "dispersants" -- this spill was behaving differently than others. Instead of floating on top of the water, it may be moving beneath it.
He said the oil's threat to undersea ecosystems "is really starting to scare us."