New, Giant Oil Plume Found in Gulf

Scientists believe cleanup chemicals to blame
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2010 1:30 PM CDT
New, Giant Oil Plume Found in Gulf
Oil sheen is seen of the surface of the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana, Wednesday, May 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Just when the Gulf of Mexico thought the hurting had stopped, marine scientists have discovered a huge new undersea oil cloud drifting toward Alabama. Hydrocarbon readings confirm that the plume, which starts near the blown-out well and is 6 miles wide and 22 miles long, is not naturally occurring. It's the second such plume scientists have found, but the first was headed for the open ocean; this one's headed for shore.

Researchers worry that these undersea clouds could be caused by the unprecedented use of chemical dispersant to break up the spilled oil, they tell the AP. They fear those dispersants could increase the toxicity and danger of the plumes, which they fear will contaminate both fish larvae and the big filter feeders that eat them, like sperm whales. (More Gulf oil spill stories.)

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