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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Toxic goo made of dead plankton, algae and bacteria drifting in Gulf

Wouldn’t have anything to do with all those chemicals BP was pouring into the Gulf, would it?

Toxic blob drifting in Gulf mystifies scientists

COURTESY / UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA

Scientists used a multi-corer to take sediment samples near Perdido Pass, offshore of the Alabama and Florida border. Lab tests found no traces of oil. The goo is made entirely of dead plankton, algae and bacteria.

By Kate Spinner

Published: Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.

( page 1 of 3 )

From a distance the toxic goo looks like oil, but up close it smells like rotten eggs and wiggles like jelly. Scientists have no idea what it is or how it wound up in the northern Gulf of Mexico, near Perdido Pass.

CORRECTION

This story has been modified from its original version, published Feb. 3, 2011, as follows:
George Crozier is executive director of the Alabama-based Dauphin Island Sea Lab, a consortium of 22 colleges and universities in Alabama.

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Just off the Florida Panhandle coastline, within site of Perdido Key, an underwater mass of dead sea life that appears to be growing as microscopic algae and bacteria get trapped and die has been found by scientists.

Early samples indicate the glob is at least 3 feet thick and spans two-thirds of a mile parallel to the coast.

No one knows where it came from or where it will go.

Scientists are trying to determine if oil from last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster led to the glob. But tests so far have found no sign of oil.

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