Oil From the BP Spill Found at Bottom of Gulf
Researcher says all 13 core samples are showing oil from the spill.
Sept. 12, 2010 -- Oil from the BP spill has not been completely cleared, but miles of it is sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a study currently under way.
Professor Samantha Joye of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, who is conducting a study on a research vessel just two miles from the spill zone, said the oil has not disappeared, but is on the sea floor in a layer of scum.
"We're finding it everywhere that we've looked. The oil is not gone," Joye said. "It's in places where nobody has looked for it."
All 13 of the core samples Joye and her UGA team have collected from the bottom of the gulf are showing oil from the spill, she said.
In an interview with ABC News from her vessel, Joye said the oil cannot be natural seepage into the gulf, because the cores they've tested are showing oil only at the top. With natural seepage, the oil would spread from the top to the bottom of the core, she said.
"It looks like you just took a strip of very sticky material and just passed it through the water column and all the stuff from the water column got stuck to it, and got transported to the bottom," Joye said. "I know what a natural seep looks like -- this is not natural seepage."
In some areas the oily material that Joye describes is more than two inches thick. Her team found the material as far as 70 miles away from BP's well.
"If we're seeing two and half inches of oil 16 miles away, God knows what we'll see close in -- I really can't even guess other than to say it's going to be a whole lot more than two and a half inches," Joye said.
This oil remaining underwater has large implications for the state of sea life at the bottom of the gulf.
Joye said she spent hours studying the core samples and was unable to find anything other than bacteria and microorganisms living within.
"There is nothing living in these cores other than bacteria," she said. "I've yet to see a living shrimp, a living worm, nothing."
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