With the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill hitting the 100-day mark on Wednesday, 14 days since the leaking well was closed, US government scientists are busy figuring out where all the spilled oil has gone.
Going by the government’s statistics, the oil leak’s total volume – calculated on the estimated 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons) leaking per day – was nearly 5.2 million barrels in the over 86 days of the leakage.
With nearly 1.2 million barrels likely to have siphoned, burned or skimmed; almost 4 million barrels (or 167 million gallons) of the oil that spewed into the Gulf still remains unaccounted for.
Since such a vast majority of the leakage remaining unexplained, it is being assumed that some of it has probably got cleaned up via natural processes – worked on by waves, wind, and the Sun, and partly consumed by microbes. Even then, since the amount of oil that remains unaccounted for is massive, to say the least, it is likely that tens of millions of gallons of the oil may actually have gone underwater.
Noting that the microbial process, supercharged by summer heat, was helping the mending process, Ed Overton, a professor at Louisiana State University, said: “We have made a gigantic biological treatment pond in the gulf. I would say that the acute damage -- we've seen it, it's already been done. And that the environment is in the recovery stage.”
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