News of the WeekGulf Oil Disaster

Hunting for Plumes, Learning to Live in a Media Spotlight

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Science  02 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5987, pp. 22-23
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5987.22

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Not long after the Deepwater Horizon rig burned and sank, Samantha Joye had a hunch about how the impending disaster would unfold. As oil and gas gushed out of the ruptured well into the Gulf of Mexico, she reasoned, many of the hydrocarbons would spread underwater in deep plumes rather than all rise to the surface, as many expected. But she had no inkling of what her confirmation of this insidious subsurface dispersal would mean for her life and career in the crazy weeks and months to follow.