The oil slick seen on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is just a fraction of what has been spilled after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20th. The National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology has discovered three or four huge plumes of oil—one at least 10 miles long and one mile wide—up to 4,000 feet below the water's surface. They're currently testing oxygen levels in the water, which have been depleted up to 30% in some areas, endangering plankton and other small creatures living in the water. Professor Samantha Joye told the Times-Picayune, "It could take years, possibly decades, for the system to recover from an infusion of this quantity of oil and gas."
Meanwhile, BP is attempting to use a mile-long pipe to capture the oil flow, but are having a hard time connecting two pieces. One portion of the pipe had to be brought to the surface and readjusted to fit another long tube which connects to an oil collecting tanker. LSU professor Ed Overton said this idea has a much better chance of working than the cofferdam did, but is still very difficult to pull off. "It's something like threading the eye of a needle. But that can be tough to do up here. And you can imagine how hard it would be to do it down there with a robot." Estimates over just how much oil is gushing from the leaks are conflicting, with some scientists guessing anywhere between 25,000 to 80,000 barrels a day, but government satellites calculating only 5,000 barrels a day.
In an effort to raise money for businesses and families affected by the spill, local radio station WWOZ is hosting a "Gulf Aid" benefit concert today at Blane Kern's Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. Though the concert was pushed inside because of heavy rain, NOLA big shots like Rebirth Brass Band, Allen Toussaint, and Dumpstaphunk will be playing alongside more nationally known artists like Mos Def and Ani DiFranco. They've also created a text aid setup; to donate, text "GULFAID" followed by the amount you want to donate to 27138.