Remember last week, when BP was patting itself on the back for its “unprecedented response” to a disaster of its own making, and assuring us all that, four years after its massive oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico is doing just fine?
Well, an estimated 80,000 to 620,000 barrels of oil still coating the bottom of the Gulf says that was bullshit.
This latest (certainly not the first) indication that the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is far from over comes via geochemists at the University of California-Santa Barbara, who took a look at the 2 million or so barrels of BP oil gone missing in the spill’s wake, and believed to have settled in the deep ocean. Their results, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimate that somewhere between 4 and 31 percent of that oil has come to rest, splattered in drops and globs across some 1,235 square miles of seafloor.
“It’s a lot of oil,” confirms lead author David Valentine. His team analyzed samples taken from 500 different locations around the busted Macondo well, and uncovered a pattern theydescribed as a “bathub ring” roughly the size of Rhode Island; ”a smokingly clear signal, like a bulls-eye” that circles the well, its obvious source.
“The evidence is becoming clear that oily particles were raining down around these deep sea corals,” Valentine added, lending support to findings, hotly contested by BP, that they were damaged by the oil spill.