Scientists simulated an underwater blowout to analyze the formation, path, and duration of oil plumes. They noted that the simulated blowout formed two plumes, one due to momentum and plume buoyancy and another due to the buoyancy of individual oil droplets separating from the first plume.
Evidence suggests that when oil interacts with particles in the marine environment, it can form larger, rapidly sinking particles called marine snow.
The active environment of the Gulf of Mexico’s continental slope contains diverse currents that are difficult to simulate and predict.
Texas A&M University scientists analyzed data made publically-available by BP for 20,000+ water samples collected from 13,000 stations during and after the 2010 spill. They found that oil occurrence was patchy with only about 20% of the samples having hydrocarbon levels above pre-spill background conditions.
Scientists used stereoscopic high-speed, high-resolution cameras mounted on remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to make fine-scale imaging and chemistry measurements inside and around gas bubbles rising from two natural Gulf of Mexico seeps.
Oil spill responders currently have the option to treat oil spills with a synthetic dispersant called Corexit, however scientists continue to search for alternatives. In this search, scientists seek to develop an understanding of the specific mechanisms that drive dispersion and identify an effective combination of food-grade components.
Scientists analyzed sea floor sediment in the Gulf of Mexico’s DeSoto Canyon region to investigate potential oil spill impacts. Evidence from sedimentological, geochronological, geochemical, and biological sources pointed to a rapid, 4-5 month sedimentation event in late 2010.
Spilled oil buried in nearshore sediment can persist for many years and act as a long-term source of episodic hydrocarbon contamination in the environment.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative congratulates one of its own – Dr. Arezoo Motavalizadeh Ardekani, an assistant professor at Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering – for receiving the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative is pleased to announce a new Sea Grant informational brochure about Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts on fisheries. This brochure synthesizes peer-reviewed oil spill science for a broad range of general audiences, particularly those who live and work across the Gulf Coast.