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Gulf ‘swirl’ aided oil spill recovery

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A new computer model shows how bacteria, topography, and water currents combined to remove methane and other chemicals from the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010.

The new study is an extension of a 2011 study by David Valentine, a geochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in which he and his research partners explained the role of bacteria in consuming more than 200,000 metric tons of dissolved methane.

“It tells us that the motion of the water is going to be an extremely important component in determining how rapidly the different hydrocarbons are broken down,” Valentine says. “It gives us the concepts that we can now apply to other situations, if we understand the physics.”

Full story at Futurity.

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Photo credit: UC Santa Barbara

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