So ... Has Anyone Seen the Oil That Spilled into the Gulf?
by Juli Weiner
Scientists and government officials are currently on the hunt for much of the oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, reports The Washington Post. While experts remain positive that the oil is still in the Gulf—“That stuff's somewhere,” a researcher hypothesized to the paper—most of it is AWOL. According to the Post, “[u]p to 4 million barrels (167 million gallons), the vast majority of the spill, remains unaccounted for in government statistics. Some of it has, most likely, been cleaned up by nature. Other amounts may be gone from the water, but they could have taken on a second life as contaminants in the air, or in landfills around the Gulf Coast.”
Some believe that a portion of the oil was consumed by ocean-dwelling microbes. The tiny organisms, like humans, enjoy oil on their seafood. But the microbes can only do so much: scientists are also reporting that masses of oil have migrated miles away from the spill. Other researchers have observed small quantities of oil located within the bodies of the Gulf’s population of crabs. Crabs, unlike microbes, should not ingest oil. Still, of the 5.2 million barrels that likely leaked, we’ve only destroyed 1.2 million barrels worth of the stuff. The country will continue to restlessly search the land and seas for oil, which, really, is exactly what we’ve always done anyway.