Underwater Plumes of Oil Stretching 50 Miles From Well

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Earlier this week we remarked to someone that, even though we know the results of the oil spill will be harmful to both the health and economic well-being of humans along the coast, it is just harder to get as upset about the people down there than it is to get upset about those godforsaken birds. When we see tourists flopping around on beaches covered in oil, flapping their arms and waving around their wide-open, chemical-filled mouths, then it will seem real. Well, it turns out the invisible effects of the BP oil spill aren't limited to jobs, tourism dollars, and human well-being. There are also giant, invisible plumes of oil that are stretching up to 50 miles from the spill, deep underwater, and they may be made up of some of the most toxic components of the oil. While the plumes are relatively diluted, they are so large that organisms will likely be dangerously immersed in them for long periods of time. There just won't be any Getty Images photographers around to document, so you'll have to take the Times' word for it.

Plumes of Oil Below Surface Raise New Concerns [NYT]