The headlines might not be screaming at us anymore, but we can’t simply forget the possible long-term impact of the BP oil disaster. For instance, here’s one question we might ask: Where’s all the oil now?
Well, according to a post by journalist Barry Yeoman in OnEarth.org the oil might be sitting in thick layers on the sea floor. Yeoman sat in on a meeting where Vernon Asper, professor of marine sciences at University of Southern Mississippi, presented recent research.
Using a BP-funded multicorer they got underwater soil samples. Soil taken from a site 16 nautical miles from the Macondo well is significantly striped. Meaning on the bottom is mud, then a layer of something they presume to be oil, and on top of that a two-inch thick goop that Asper calls “slime snot,” possibly made up of oil and bacteria. They are currently analyzing it to confirm exactly what’s in this slime snot.
Regardless, this goo is no good for life. Worms, other deep-living organisms and sediment require oxygen that will not reach them through the slime. And of course this will impact up the food chain, to fish and even sperm whales who dive deep to graze the ocean floor.