New, giant sea oil plume seen in Gulf

Researchers worry second undersea find is a result of chemical dispersants used to contain spill

Published May 27, 2010 4:25PM (EDT)

Marine scientists have discovered a massive new plume of what they believe to be oil deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico, stretching 22 miles from the leaking wellhead northeast toward Mobile Bay, Alabama.

The discovery by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel is the second significant undersea plume recorded since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.

David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at the school, says the thick plume was detected just beneath the surface down to about 3,300 feet. He says it's more than 6 miles wide.

Scientists say they are worried the undersea plumes may be from chemical dispersants used to break up the oil a mile under the surface.

By Matthew Brown

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By Jason Dearen

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Gulf Oil Spill