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Posted Mon May 17 2010: from HuffingtonPost:
Deep sea oil plumes, dispersants endanger reefs
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has already spewed plumes over ecologically sensitive reefs, part of a stalled marine sanctuary proposal that would have restrict drilling in a large swath of the northern part of the vital waterway. Marine scientists fear that two powerful Gulf currents will carry the oil to other reefs. The eastward flowing loop current could spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas. The depth of the gushing leaks and the use of more than 560,000 gallons of chemicals to disperse the oil, including unprecedented injections deep in the sea, have helped keep the crude beneath the sea surface. Marine scientists say diffusing and sinking the oil helps protect the surface species and the Gulf Coast shoreline but increases the chance of harming deep-sea reefs, which are seen as bellwethers for sea health.... These plumes are being eaten by microbes thousands of feet deep, which removes oxygen from the water.... Studies published in a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report show that oil mixed with dispersants damaged certain corals' reproduction and deformed their larvae. The study concluded the federal government needed to study more before using massive amounts of dispersants.
[Read more stories about: contamination, oil issues, coral bleaching]

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'Doc Michael says:
Guess we'll get to "study" it in the field.

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