Oil vanishes from surface of Gulf | world | Hindustan Times
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Oil vanishes from surface of Gulf

Finally there’s a hope of good news from the Gulf. The oil on the surface is disappearing much more faster than anyone expected, according to the New York Times.

world Updated: Jul 29, 2010 17:12 IST

Finally there’s a hope of good news from the Gulf. The oil on the surface is disappearing much more faster than anyone expected, according to The New York Times. The leak has been shut for almost two weeks, and “oil has a finite lifespan on the surface,” said the head of one environmental advocacy group, after examining some fresh satellite images. “At this point, the oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly.”

The oil slick appears to dissolve much faster than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

But scientists and fishermen are still concerned about the long term effects of the oil, and the chemical dispersants used on it. “Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn’t oil beneath the water,” said one official. And Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen says his boats will keep skimming the water for a while. “We’ve never put this much oil into the water,” he says. “We need to take this very seriously.”

The effect on sea life of the large amounts of oil that dissolved below the surface is still a mystery. Two preliminary government reports on that issue have found concentrations of toxic compounds in the deep sea to be low, but the reports left many questions, especially about an apparent decline in oxygen levels in the water.

Scientists said the rapid dissipation of the surface oil was probably the result of a combination of factors. The gulf has an immense natural capacity to break down oil, which leaks into it at a steady rate from thousands of natural seeps.