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Images: A Plume of Chemicals from Deepwater Horizon

Scientists used the free-swimming underwater robot Sentry to locate and map a plume of hydrocarbons flowing from Deepwater Horizon's broken riser pipe on the seafloor 3,600 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo by Cameron McIntyre, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Sentry was equipped TETHYS, a portable underwater mass spectrometer developed by WHOI scientist Rich Camilli. TETHYS can detect and identify minute quantities of chemical compounds. (Photo by Cameron McIntyre, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

TETHYS is secured inside Sentry. The combination of Sentry’s mobility and TETHYS’s sensitive chemical-detecting "nose" makes it a powerful oceanographic bloodhound. (Photo by Cameron McIntyre, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI scientist Mike Jakuba (right) devised a real-time visualization system that allowed the scientists to simulataneously see Sentry's track along with the chemicals detected by TETHYS. As a result, scientists, including James Kinsey and Dana Yoerger (left), could watch an image of the subsea plume appear as their "bloodhound" tracked petrochemicals in the deep sea. (Photo by Cameron McIntyre, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The scientists used what they called a "hunter-gatherer approach." Once Sentry had hunted to locate the plume, scientists Rich Camilli (left) and Chris Reddy knew exactly where to gather samples of seawater from within the plume. (Photo by Cameron McIntyre, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Scientists used a cable to dip an instrument called a CTD into the subsea plume and collect samples. But before putting the instrument into and pulling it out of the ocean, they sprayed a solution of liquid dish detergent onto the sea surface to create an uncontaminated hole in the oil slick for the CTD to pass through. This photo shows the technique being used on the NOAA ship Gordon Gunther in the Gulf. (Photo by Robert Nelson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)