Nine years ago tomorrow — April 20, 2010 — crude oil began leaking from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico in what turned out to be the largest marine oil spill in history. A long-term study suggests the oil is still affecting the salt marshes of the Gulf Coast, and reveals the key role that marsh grasses play in the overall recovery of these important coastal wetlands.
Scientists have issued a series of findings and recommendations on the safety of using dispersal agents in oil spill clean-up efforts.
Research that reveals what lies at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean — the Mariana Trench. Until now, scientists knew more about Mars than the deepest part of the ocean. But an expedition to collect samples of the microbial population at the deepest part of the Mariana Trench (some 11,000 meters down) has revealed a new ‘oil-eating’ bacteria.
Measurements of hazardous air pollutant concentrations near oil and natural gas extraction sites have generally failed to capture levels above standard health benchmarks; yet, the majority of studies continue to find poor health outcomes increasing as distance from these operations decreases.
In the future, it could be possible to remove oil spills on the surface of the ocean by using magnets. An interdisciplinary group of researchers has developed functionalized iron oxide particles that can attract any types of hydrocarbons. The magnetic particles and their shells can then be removed from the water relatively simply and in an environmentally friendly manner and can even be reused after being cleaned.