USF Researchers return from oil leak site

05/17/10 Kate Bradshaw
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Yesterday, the New York Times reported that enormous oil plumes have formed in the Gulf of Mexico, causing some scientists to think the leak is far worse than officials currently estimate. One is as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick.

Meanwhile, today USF researchers have returned from a ten-day Gulf expedition. While they say it will take at least a week to analyze their findings, Marine Science Dean William Hogarth says weathered oil from the nearly month-old leak is floating around in large volumes.

He added that current models show that the oil may have entered the loop current. He said this means that many Florida beaches won’t see the worst of she slick, but that the weathered oil may start washing ashore soon.

Ernst Peebles, an associate professor at USF’s College of Marine Science, said the loop current will probably not carry oil from the underwater plume.

Peebles said that the dispersed oil might hurt newly-discover populations of deepwater coral.

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