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Jun 22, 2010 8:07 PM by Chris Welty

Scientist: Oxygen Levels Down in Gulf Oil Plumes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A marine scientist says underwater oil plumes
are reducing oxygen in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, but the
drop-off isn't steep enough to endanger marine life just yet.
Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia said Tuesday that
water samples show oxygen concentrations within the plumes are
dropping 1 to 2 percent each day.
She said at that rate, it would take months for levels to become
hazardous for fish and other animals.
Vast amounts of methane are leaking from the ruptured Deepwater
Horizon oil well. Microbes feeding on the methane also consume
oxygen.
Scientists say if that process goes too far, it could create
"dead zones" with so little oxygen that virtually nothing could
live.

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