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Image : WHOI Scientists Analyze, Explain the Chemical Makeup of Gulf Plume

The next step was to get samples of seawater directly from the plume to see what chemicals were in it. "We weren't stabbing arbitrarily hoping to find something," said WHOI chemist Chris Reddy. "We used a hunter-gatherer strategy: Sentry had hunted for the plume, told us exactly where to look, and we gathered right there within it." The samples were dispatched to a laboratory and analyzed to look for more than 100 different compounds. The research team's findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that a preponderance of six petroleum hydrocarbon compounds ended up in the plume: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. (Graphic by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


Last updated: July 28, 2014

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