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Though the content in this brief video from Garden Banks 647 may not initially appear particularly noteworthy to many people, it was exceedingly important to the geologists onboard. The strange shape of this small rock, quite unlike the carbonates that we’ve typically seen on the bottom, provided the first inkling of something unexpected. Based upon the way that it broke apart and settled to the bottom, geologists expect that it was composed of natural asphalt and likely contained the residue of a mature petroleum product that had leaked out from the seafloor. This was an exciting find, since very few asphalt accumulations have been documented in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Video courtesy of Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007, NOAA-OE.

 

Related Links

Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007

Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007: June 26 Log

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery