‘Eternal flames’ of ancient times could spark interest of modern geologists

Gas and oil seeps have been part of religious and cultural practices for thousands of years. Seeps from which gas and oil escape were formative to many ancient cultures and societies. They gave rise to legends surrounding the Delphi Oracle, Chimaera fires and “eternal flames” that were central to ancient religious practices – from Indonesia and Iran to Italy and Azerbaijan.

Further assessment needed of dispersants used in response to oil spills

Experts argue for further in-depth assessments of the impacts of dispersants on microorganisms to guide their use in response to future oil spills. Chemical dispersants are widely used in emergency responses to oil spills in marine environments as a means of stimulating microbial degradation of oil. After the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, dispersants were applied to the sea surface and deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the latter of which was unprecedented. Dispersants were used as a first line of defense even though little is known about how they affect microbial communities or the biodegradation activities they are intended to spur.