Dr. Samantha Joye is a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia and has been active in following developments in the Gulf of Mexico after the deep-water disaster of April 20 that allowed millions of gallons of crude oil to escape. On her blog site on Sept. 5, 2010, she reported the discovery of layers of oil deposits that appeared to be flocculated. While many of the deposits they encountered were millimeters in thickness, when they dropped a multicorer into a valley formation that could be a natural collection point for sediments about 16 nautical miles from the wellhead, they recovered samples with up to nearly 3 cm of the fluffy oily deposits. They will take the samples back to the lab to test for confirmation the material is from the suspected well. The physical appearance of the materials confirms they are not from a natural seep. Also some creatures such as tube worms and zooplankton were noted in the debris.
Many of the areas the researchers tested showed signs of oxidation with little or no gas or oil content. They will continue to search and map out areas for further study.
The University of Georgia is one of a number or research teams studying the area.