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August 19th, 2010
04:56 PM ET

Researchers say they found 22-mile hydrocarbons plume in Gulf

CNN Wire Staff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/08/19/gulf.oil.plume/story.hydrocarbon.plume.gi.jpg caption="Researchers say hydrocarbons plume in Gulf of Mexico is at least 22 miles long" width=300 height=169]

Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said they have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to the institution, the 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume of trapped hydrocarbons provides at least a partial answer to recent questions asking where all the oil has gone as surface slicks shrink and disappear.

"These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume" in the Gulf, said Christopher Reddy, a Woods Hole marine geochemist and oil spill expert. He is one of the authors of the study, which appears in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science.

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