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Yo Ho Ho and a Tow-Yo

To search for evidence of hydrocarbon plumes emanating from the stricken Deepwater Horizon well in 2010, a WHOI research team used a technique called a “tow-yo.” From the research vessel Endeavor, the team alternately hoisted and lowered a sensor package through the water like a yo-yo while the ship steamed in a circle more than six miles across centered on the broken wellhead. By using data from the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry to target their search and tow-yo-ing instruments between 2,600 and 4,600 feet deep on a mile-long cable, the team was able to find and sample the plume. (Illustration by Jack Cook and Amy Caracappa-Qubeck, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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