Scientists Find Enormous Oil Plumes Under Gulf Spill

It's not clear why the plumes are forming underwater as they are, but one theory is that the chemical dispersants now being used are at the root of it.

In any event, they're depleting oxygen in the water, which could eventually cause major problems for sea life. As the Washington Post explains, scientists dread the potential impact of the spill on the complex—and largely unexplored—ecosystem of the ocean floor.

Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.