INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The Air Force is getting involved in the effort to break up theoil spill that continues to threaten the Louisiana and Florida GulfCoast. 24-Hour News went to the lab of a local scientist to learnmore about the effort.
Dr. Gabriel Filippelli uses water and transmission fluid toexplain what cleanup crews are fighting off the coast of Louisiana.With the fluid on the bottom of a beaker, he pours water onto thetop of it.
"You got a slick pretty quickly. It comes up from a mile ofwater in less than a day,” said Dr. Filippelli.
Dr. Filippelli is the Chairman of the Department of EarthSciences at IUPUI. He said because of the size of the leak, becauseit is still leaking and because of its distance out in the ocean,the best solution is simply to contain the spill.
"Eventually, bacteria and microbes and sunlight will force it toclump together, and when it clumps together, it will start sinkingto the deep ocean," he says.
On the ocean floor, says Dr. Filippelli, the oil is not a threatto the coastline.
In some cases, soap-like substances called suracants are sprayedonto the slick, which the Air Force is doing now. He says it workslike dishwashing liquid at home does.
"It has two advantages. It both disperses the oil into thewater, plus, the soap works as a nutrient for some bacteria, whichactually help consume that oil," said Dr. Filippelli.
But the slick may be too big for the soapy substance to work.Dr. Filippelli says the best bet is to contain the spill and keepit away from the coast long enough for Mother Nature to make itsink to the ocean floor.
Dr. Filippelli said to end the problem, the well needs to becapped. But it's a mile deep in the ocean, so it's tough to getdone.
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