article Discovery News
The oil gusher on the Gulf seabed may be stopped, but much of the spilled oil still lurks in a plume of oil and dissolved methane gas 3,200-4,300 feet below the surface.
New research predicts that this plume will likely create a low-oxygen “dead zone” inhospitable to life in these deep waters, as microbes consume the oil and gas entrained in the plume.
The cold temperatures in the plume will slow the growth of the microbes compared to microbes acting at the surface. Because of this slower growth, the team predicts that it will be sometime in the fall before the oxygen levels hit their minimum.