May 17 Update:
The spill shield is entering the Gulf Stream Loop. Official responses have barely confirmed this but check the 4 models yourselfhttp://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100505/NEWS/5050317
From the New York Times online:
Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
There's a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water, said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. There's a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.
Dr. Joye said the oxygen had already dropped 30 (Italics by Safe Harbor) percent near some of the plumes in the month that the broken oil well had been flowing. If you keep those kinds of rates up, you could draw the oxygen down to very low levels that are dangerous to animals in a couple of months, she said Saturday. That is alarming.
The plumes were discovered by scientists from several universities working aboard the research vessel Pelican, which sailed from Cocodrie, La., on May 3 and has gathered extensive samples and information about the disaster in the gulf.
From CBS 60 Minutes: