"an infusion of oil and gas unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history"
Researchers aboard the F.G. Walton Smith vessel briefed reporters on a two-week cruise in which they traced an underwater oil plum 15 miles wide, 3 miles long and about 600 feet thick. The plume's core is 1,100 to 1,300 meters below the surface, they said.
"It's an infusion of oil and gas unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history," said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, the expedition leader.
Bacteria are breaking down the oil's hydrocarbons in a massive, microorganism feeding frenzy that has sent oxygen levels plunging close to what is considered "dead zone" conditions, at which most marine life are smothered for a lack of dissolved oxygen.
Joye said her team also measured extremely high levels of methane, which is also spewing from the gushing BP well at up to 10,000 times background levels in Gulf waters. "I've been working in the Gulf of Mexico for 15 years," Joye said. "I've never seen methane concentration this high anywhere in the water."
When this blew out there had to be resevoir pressures of 40-50,000 pounds per square inch other wise the fire wouldn't have been so intense and what would have come out first is the blowout preventer would have popped out of the water more like a cork. And then what would come out second is the casing. [...] And so we have an open hole that's spewing I would guess somewhere between 100-150,000 barrels a day of oil which is why you now have over a hundred mile oil lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's apparently 4-500 feet deep. [...]
I would think by the end of the week we will discover that we have an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser. I bet where (inaudible) of the drilling riser is still connected to the (inaudible) of it and so they've done everything wrong. [...]
They basically are trying to patch a little leak in the drilling riser. You've got to remember that what we're seeing on television, the drilling riser is 22.5" in circumferance. Most of it is a elastomers to make it bouyant. In the middle is a 7" column with the annulus where the drill bit goes down, so coming out of that is a little plume of gas. It's not oil and it's only about four feet high.
That could not by any way have actually covered 40% of the Gulf of Mexico, so what we're going to find when the Thomas Jefferson finishes its work is we have an open hole with no casing in it and the only way we'll shut it off is either let it complete which might take 30 years, which could maybe not only poison the Gulf of Mexico but maybe the Atlantic Ocean, or to put a nuclear device down the hole like the Russians did in the 70's and actually encase it by turning the turning the rock into (inaudible).