The Deepwater Horizon aftermath

Surface burning of oil slicks during the Deepwater Horizon event.
Credit: David Valentine

Researchers have analyzed 125 compounds from oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico to determine their longevity at different contamination.

The scientists have now analyzed long-awaited data from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment to determine the specific rates of biodegradation for 125 major petroleum hydrocarbons -- compounds from the oil that settled to the deep ocean floor when DWH's Macondo well discharged 160 million gallons. Through that analysis, the team found that a number of factors influence how long the impact of such an oil spill lasts. Their results appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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