As I have said before, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information and misinformation around the Louisiana Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and hence I cannot follow it here at Leherensuge with the intensity I would like. I have mentioned also that other more dedicated blogs, such as Washington Blog, Alexander Higgins' Blog and Florida Oil Spill Law, provide a much better and comprehensive critical following of the catastrophe at official and unofficial levels.
But today I must mention some important news. However I am in a hurry, so I apologize in advance for being brief.
Giant oil plume scientifically confirmed at 1 km depth
This is official enough to have made it to the mainstream media. BBC (watch out for a clear pro-BP bias in all British media) and Science Daily report on it, for instance.
The plume is made up of dispersed oil, up to the point that is not easy to see with naked eye. Yet it is there, it is huge and it is not being degraded biologically because water temperature is way too cold.
The news comes from a research paper, published at Science magazine yesterday, by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). However they had to stop their field research short because of bad weather. Therefore the plume has not been fully mapped yet.
This confirms the previous denounce by other scientists about the US administration oil figures being a fairy tale. Most oil is still there and because the use of dispersants (which are still being sprayed and are themselves highly toxic) the oil cannot be cleaned up (nor easily found) at surface nor can be degraded naturally by microorganisms, posing an even worse threat.
Independent expert speaks out
Washington Blog published yesterday an interview with University of California professor Dr. Robert Bea, engineer with ample experience in offshore drilling.
According to him, the good news is that the methane bubble doomsday scenario is most unlikely to be a real risk. All the rest are bad news: the geology is fractured and oil will follow such fractures and possibly leak out to the sea many kilometers from the damaged well. Solving the leak certainly will need relief wells - some previous such incidents have needed as many as five different relief wells.
Seafloor fractures in detail
Alexander Higgins has a great article today on how the macondo well might have fractured the geology of the area and its consequences. It can be synthesized to some extent in this image:
There are many other news, many of great interest, but I seriously recommend you to browse the blogs I mentioned in the first paragraph because I have no room in Leherensuge nor even in my mind for all them.