Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) | 4 Dec 2012
C Spier, WT Stringfellow, TC Hazen and M Conrad
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform on April 20th, 2010 resulted in the second largest oil spill in history. The distribution and chemical composition of hydrocarbons within a 45 km radius of the blowout was investigated. All available certified hydrocarbon data were acquired from NOAA and BP. The distribution of hydrocarbons was found to be dispersed over a wider area in subsurface waters than previously predicted or reported. A deepwater hydrocarbon plume predicted by models was verified and additional plumes were identified. Because the samples were not collected systematically, there is still some question about the presence and persistence of an 865 m depth plume predicted by models. Water soluble compounds were extracted from the rising oil in deepwater, and were found at potentially toxic levels outside of areas previously reported to contain hydrocarbons. Application of subsurface dispersants was found to increase hydrocarbon concentration in subsurface waters.
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