More casualties of the BP oil spill have come to light: 54 colonies of deep-sea corals, located about 7 miles away from the well, covering an area the size of half a football field.
New research has definitively linked the leaking Macondo well with what has been described as a "graveyard of corals" by the scientists examining the community. Though the oil spill was suspected as causing the deaths, it has taken until now to conclusively prove the cause of death.
Via AP/Huffington Post:
[Lead researcher Helen White] said pinpointing the BP well as the source of the contamination required sampling sediment on the sea floor and figuring out what was oil from natural seeps in the Gulf and what was from the Macondo well. Finally, the researchers matched the oil found on the corals with oil that came out of the BP well.
Also, the researchers concluded that the damage was caused by the spill because an underwater plume of oil was tracked passing by the site in June 2010. The paper also noted that a decade of deep-sea coral research in the Gulf had not found coral dying in this manner. The coral was documented for the first time when researchers went looking for oil damage in 2010.