Posted: Sep 10, 2013 5:55 PM by Pat Shingleton
Scientists have been puzzled as to the disposition of spilled oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Research recently presented at an ecosystem conference in Tampa revealed evidence of a "dirty blizzard." After analyzing samples of sediments from the sea floor, scientists determined that spilled oil combined with plankton and other materials in the water and fell to the sea floor at a rate 10 times the normal deposition rates. The "dirty blizzard" also provided an explanation as to why water was not clouded with plankton after the spill and appeared clear. Plankton and other particles spiraled to the ocean floor. It was also determined that the spill killed foraminifera, the basis of the Gulf's aquatic food chain.