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Reddy, Sylva, and Seewald retrieving sample of Deepwater Horizon oil from Seewald sampler

Tapping a Small, High-Pressure Keg

WHOI researchers (l to r) Chris Reddy, Sean Sylva, and Jeff Seewald prepare to tap into the pressurized chamber holding material collected from the damaged wellhead at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site. A team from WHOI had used a specialized device called an Isobaric Gas-Tight sampler (black object near Seewald) to collect the material, which was the only sample taken directly from the broken wellhead. The sample was analyzed for its gas and oil content, to estimate the amount of each released during the spill. It also served as a reference to determine whether unknown oil samples came from the spill. Seewald and others at WHOI designed the sampler about 10 years ago to collect fluids spewing from hydrothermal vents. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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