Acoustic observations of oil and gas in the northern Gulf of Mexico during and after the Deepwater Horizon spill


During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 we used vessel mounted single beam echo sounders to acoustically map gas seeps (both natural and from the capped Macondo wellhead) and, in one instance, leaking oil as it rose through the water column. In 2011, we returned to the area surrounding the Macondo wellhead with a 30 kHz multibeam echo sounder in order to test our ability to systematically map gas seeps in the water column. In both of these cases the acoustic systems offered an efficient means of gaining a synoptic view of the environment resulting, for example, in 100's of multibeam echo sounder observations of natural gas seeps collected over the course of only a few days. Estimates of flow rate have been made based on assumptions about droplet/bubble size and composition; measurements of these parameters are required in order to unambiguously determine quantities of interest such as flux rate.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

243rd Meeting of the American Chemical Society

Conference Date

March 28, 2012

Publisher Place

San Diego, California, USA


American Chemical Society

Document Type

Conference Proceeding