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Where's the oil? On the Gulf floor, scientists say

Sep 13, 2010 5:07:00 PM - thestate.com
Far beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, deeper than divers can go, scientists say they are finding oil from the busted BP well on the sea's muddy and mysterious bottom.

Oil at least two inches thick was found Sunday night and Monday morning about a mile beneath the surface. Under it was a layer of dead shrimp and other small animals, said University of Georgia researcher Samantha Joye, speaking from the helm of a research vessel in the Gulf.

The latest findings show that while the federal government initially proclaimed much of the spilled oil gone, now it's not so clear.

At these depths, the ocean is a cold and dark world. Yet scientists say that even though it may be out of sight, oil found there could do significant harm to the strange creatures that dwell in the depths - tube worms, tiny crustaceans and mollusks, single-cell organisms and Halloween-scary fish with bulging eyes and skeletal frames.

"I expected to find oil on the sea floor," Joye said Monday morning in a ship-to-shore telephone interview. "I did not expect to find this much. I didn't expect to find layers two inches thick. It's weird the stuff we found last night. Some of it was really dense and thick."

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