I just found oil in my core!

Breaking news from my lab bench this morning:  I started processing our post-spill samples collected closest to the blown out Macondo well, and lo and behold–oil in the cores.  I knew there was oil in the mud even before I saw the sheen, since the core smelled like diesel–I’ve smelled a lot of deep-sea mud from many different locations and I’ve never smelled anything like this odor before.  Once I started decanting the meiofauna over the sieve, there were clearly oil droplets on the water surface (cue my frantic search for a camera, which I ended up stealing from our electrophoresis room):

Oily sheen can be seen as a circle towards the left hand side

This is a sub-core from a box core collected on Sept 26th at a depth of 1372 metres;  the sample site is about 4 miles southwest of the well head:

I’ve got lots more samples to go, so I’ll keep posting pictures if I find more evidence of oil!

Holly Bik (140 Posts)

I am a computational biologist at the University of California, Davis. My research uses DNA sequencing and genomics to study microbial eukaryotes (yeah, nematodes!) in marine ecosystems, with an emphasis on evolution and biodiversity in the deep-sea. I can neither confirm nor deny that I like Unix more than I like going to sea.





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