Dead Gulf menhadens or Pogies are seen in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Bay Jimmy, Sunday June 20, 2010. MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNEBy Julie Steenhuysen, editing by Maggie Fox
CHICAGO
Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:58pm EDT

Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are "astonishingly high."

Kessler's crew took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP's broken wellhead.

"There is an incredible amount of methane in there," Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing.

In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.

"We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations" in some areas, Kessler said.

The scientists were looking for signs that the methane gas had depleted levels of oxygen dissolved in the water needed to sustain marine life.

"At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters. At other places, we saw no depletion of oxygen in the waters. We need to determine why that is," he told the briefing. …

Methane in Gulf "astonishingly high": U.S. scientist

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