A chemical analysis of oil sheens found floating recently at the ocean’s surface near the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster indicates that the source is pockets of oil trapped within the wreckage of the sunken rig. Both the Macondo well and natural oil seeps common to the Gulf of Mexico were confidently ruled out.
Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) used a recently-patented method to fingerprint the chemical makeup of the sheens and to estimate the location of the source based on the extent to which gasoline-like compounds evaporated from the oil sheens. The study was published online in Environmental Science & Technology. (more…)