Julie Cart
Los Angeles Times
May 30, 2010

Florida scientists just back from a research voyage in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday reported finding a layer of dissolved hydrocarbons that was at least 20 miles long, apparently confirming the ‘oil plume’ discovered by another research vessel a week ago. The team brought back water samples to determine if the material is oil from the BP leak.

Scientists suspect that the far-flung subsea oil is a result of the use of dispersants that break up oil on the surface and distribute smaller particles into the gulf’s water column.

Ernst Pebbles, an associate professor of biological oceanography at the University of South Florida, said the ship’s sonar detected a thick “structure” at about a quarter-mile deep, some 45 miles northeast of the leaking well. He said they found a similar layer of hydrocarbons and particulates at 1,000 meters deep, about 24 miles from the crippled well.

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