Observation of a Subsurface Oil-Rich Layer in the Open Ocean

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Science  07 Sep 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4410, pp. 999-1001
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4410.999


A layer of water at a depth of 200 meters containing 3 to 12 milligrams per liter of oil was found during February and March 1978 over a distance of 800 nautical miles in the southwest North Atlantic and the eastern Caribbean. The geochemistry and carbon-14 activity of the oil shows it to be a weathered crude, probably from a submarine seep. Although the dimensions of the oily layer were not determined, conservative estimates indicate that more than I megaton could have been present.