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Images: A Small Sip from a Big Gusher

The Isobaric Gas-Tight sampler sips fluids jetting into the deep sea through a straw-like snorkel and keeps it at the high pressure of the area where it was collected. A temperature probe attached to the snorkel guides researchers to the prime spot to sample. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The manipulator arm of a robotic vehicle (upper right) moves the IGT sampler toward the jet of hot oil and gas shooting out of the broken Deepwater Horizon wellhead. When the sampler's snorkel reached an area of peak temperature, WHOI research associate Sean Sylva, sitting in a control room on a ship nearly a mile above, activated the snorkel to draw in a sample. (With permission of U.S. Coast Guard and Rich Camilli, WHOI)

U.S. Coast Guard officers escorted samples from the Gulf to WHOI, where geochemist Bob Nelson (left) signed chain-of-custody forms before receiving the samples from Lt. Jarrett Parker. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

After receiving the Isobaric Gas-Tight samplers containing samples of material from the broken wellhead, WHOI's Bob Nelson stored them in a locked refrigerator until they could be tapped to extract the oil and gas in them. Coast Guard Lt. Joseph Kusek observes.
(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

In the lab at WHOI, researcher Sean Sylva (left) and geochemist Jeff Seewald extracted the sample from the pressurized sampling device and collected its liquid oil and natural gas components. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Jeff Seewald, chairman of WHOI's Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)