The effort to contain the oil spill that has poured millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico encountered a setback, according to officials. This means that oil will continue gushing into the ocean for possibly months.
Workers earlier maneuvered a containment dome over the remaining leaks on the seabed to funnel the oil to the surface, where it would be collected by a drill ship.
Crews discovered that the dome’s opening was becoming clogged with gas hydrates — crystal structures that form when gas and water mix and are found in the low temperature and high pressure at the ocean floor.
The hydrates form a slush which clogged the opening through which the oil was to be funneled to the surface.
The cause of the explosion on the oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, was still under investigation. The Minerals Management Service and the Coast Guard, the two federal agencies conducting the investigation, announced that they would hold public hearings in New Orleans.