The Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

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					                     The Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
                                    June 3, 2010
                                     Written By:
            Ruben Zamudio, Allen Mariano, Vanessa Cruz, and Alexis Marquez

Photograph. Web. 2 June 2010. <>.

   On April 20, 2010, perhaps the United States worst environmental incident occurred, a
pipeline on the sea floor exploded, gushing out thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of
Mexico. BP (British Petroleum) is on the hot seat, being accused of the explosion of the pipeline.
BP however, does not want to be held responsible for this, but agrees that they’ll be a big part in
the clean up of the mess. But what exactly caused the huge oil spill? According to,
workers on the Transocean Deep Horizon drilling rig, which isn’t owned by BP, was working to
cap a new exploratory well. The well however had suffered a hectic “blow”, causing fire and
sinking a rig, and rupturing the pipeline. The rupture of the pipeline caused thousands of gallons
of oil to be extracted to the gulf, covering a giant mass of space with oil.
The Spread
    It has been estimated that there has been about 500,000-780,000 gallons of oil that has already
polluted the water. The oil has appeared onto the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, and
Alabama. In addition to that, the oil is also heading for Florida. The potential harm of the
oil comes when it becomes less unstable and lethal as it weathers. The oil goes from its
liquid state into a tar ball form, which is the least harmful form of the oil. Although, tar
balls are really sticky, and can potentially harm plants and animals on the shores they
wash onto. Knowing the potential harm oil can have on many organisms at sea; scientists
are figuring out ways to dissolve the oil. For instance they are using dispersants, which is
a liquid that break down the oil into smaller drops and disperse into the water similar to
the way smoke disperses into air. However, dispersants may be a little toxic and can harm
the wildlife in the water. Another method the BP has tried was the “Top Kill” plan, where
mud is pumped into the oil well, but has failed in plugging the ruptured oil wells. BP is
now attempting to cut damaged riser pipes then install a containment device that would
hold and syphon the oil to the surface.
Marine Life and Coastal Ecosystem
     Organisms that live in the gulf are fish, crabs, shrimp, oysters, sea turtles, dolphins, jelly fish,
planktons, whales and manatees. Those organisms that live in the oil spill zone especially
organisms that live near the surface of the water are being affected more. Different organisms are
having different reactions with the problem of the oil spill that is harmful to the organisms. For
example, the Seabirds that dive into the sea, to catch prey, could accidently carry oil and take it to
their nests where their eggs can absorb the oil and kill the development of the egg. Organisms like
sea turtles and dolphins breathe twice a minute they inhale the oil which harms their body. The
majority of the organism’s skin burns and develops rashes and when they inhale the dangerous
toxin their lungs burn, hurts and damages their insides. All species living in the gulf are
endangered especially the loggerhead turtles, green turtles and hawks bill turtles they are the ones
that keep on dying constantly and they are endangered of becoming extinct.
     Scientist are worried about the turtle specie such as kemps, sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles ,
green sea turtles, loggerhead turtles and leather back sea turtles. In May 18, 2010 federal officials
have found one hundred and nine organisms dead in one whole day there were one hundred and
fifty four sea turtles, twelve dolphins, and twenty three birds. There also several types of species
in this region that have become endangered. This includes: the Gulf Sturgeon which grows to
about eight feet in length and weighs two hundred pounds, and the small tooth sawfish, that have
a flat snout with teeth in the edge of their snout ( grow about eighteen feet in length are known to
be related to sharks, rays and skates).
Life on the Sea Floor
   The oil has not only affected the surface of the ocean, but most likely it has affected the
organisms in a seafloor. The two types of communities found in the sea floor are clams
and mussels. These communities fall in the Archaea category. These organisms depend
on getting their energy through the hot rich mineral water instead of depending on
photosynthesis. These species depend on the sulfide that is found in certain organisms
above the seafloor. They use the sulfide to create food, this process is called
chemosynthesis. There have been expeditions that have been made to take samples of
sediment and water beneath the oil spill, to see what affects it is taking place underneath
the spill. National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology has been observing and
taking these samples for further investigation. “Once it settles it destroys the cane and
kills the shrimp. If you kill the shrimp, you kill the fish that feed off the shrimp, and if
you kill the fish then there is nothing left in the Gulf of Mexico. That would absolutely be
a disaster for years and years.” (Brennan, Dan) Says a Charter boat captain Dan Dix. He
believes that this spill will greatly affect our ecosystem for many years to come.
The Fisheries
    Due to the oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, there has been devastating
affects in the fisheries. There are many organisms that are being affected and those
include migratory species of fishes, oysters, larvae of shrimp, and crabs. In average, the
fisheries around the gulf coast are worth $2.4 billion industry. It has also affects the
tourism in the Florida which is estimated to be $65 billion in industry. The senator in the
state of Alabama, Richard Shelby, says: “Alabama’s fishing industry represents one of
the largest economic engines in the state—accounting for more than $800 million in sales
and nearly 18,000 jobs. We must proactively work to adequately deal with this situation.”
Because of the oil spill economically, speaking, it is going to have a major impact.
Besides economic issues that arise in the long run, there are also health concerns that
arise to the workers who are working on cleaning up the oil spill. They are exposed to
various chemicals and toxins that can harm them in the long run. There have been
already nine workers hospitalized, but it is still unknown if the cause was due to the oil
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"Day 43 - The Latest on the Oil Spill -" The New York Times - Breaking News,

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Marshall, Jessica. "Gulf Oil Spill Not the Biggest Ever : Discovery News." Discovery News:

       Earth, Space, Tech, Animals, Dinosaurs, History. 01 June 2010. Web. 03 June 2010.


"'Top Kill' Fails to Stop Gulf Oil Leak : Discovery News." Discovery News: Earth, Space, Tech,

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       "AMNH - Life Forms." American Museum of Natural History. Web. 02 June 2010.
Brennan, Dan. "BP Spill Threatens Vulnerable Ecosystems with Destruction." World Socialist

       Web Site. 7 May 2010. Web. 26 May 2010.


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       "Exxon-valdez2 « Nature's Crusaders." Nature's Crusaders. Web. 03 June 2010.

                                   Ruben Zamudio: Background
                                    Allen Mariano: The Spread
                         Alexis Marquez: Marine Life and Coastal Ecosystem
                                  Vanessa Cruz: Life on Sea Floor

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