Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Large ‘slick' could be huge plankton bloom - 22rd Mar 2011

Scientists at a Cocodrie marine-research center say a miles-long discolored patch on the Gulf originally feared to be oil may actually be a huge algae bloom — the kind that fuels the annual dead zone off Louisiana's coast.

The patch, estimated to be 100 miles long and six miles wide by the Coast Guard, was tested by Coast Guard officials this weekend and found to contain only trace amounts of petroleum.

This slick is separate from the oily substance that washed up on Grand Isle and Fourchon beach this weekend.

Nancy Rabalais, director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium research station in

Cocodrie, said scientists from the lab steamed through the "slick" Monday about 15 miles off the coast of Cocodrie to take samples. They believe the slick is actually a huge, thick concentration of phytoplankton, the plant species of the microscopic critters at the bottom of the ocean food chain. Read More

Note: Reported on 20th Mar 2011 - 100 miles long has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico and is suspected to be from a new major leak at the Matterhorn Seastar oil rig just 20 miles from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Pilots from several independent organization are monitoring the slick and report it is spreading fast. Fishermen in Louisiana are reporting fresh oil slicks washing up on shore. Source

Would fishermen not know the differance between Algae and oil?

Also from the 20th Mar 2011 - "Grand Isle Fire Chief Aubrey Chaisson also said he saw the substance up close today, both aboard a boat as well as from a helicopter. He also confirmed that the reported substance is crude oil, although he is not sure of the source."

“It looks similar to what we saw at the height of the oil spill,” said Young. “Browning, orangeish oil mixed together with what appeared to be dispersant.” Source