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Small Part Of Oil Slick Reaches Powerful Loop Current

Federal scientists say a small portion of the oil slick from the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has reached a powerful current that could take it to Florida.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said Wednesday they have detected light to very light sheens in the loop current, which circulates into the Gulf and takes water south to the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream.

The agency says that any oil would be "highly weathered" and could evaporate before reaching Florida. And it says the oil could never reach Florida at all.

But scientists say diluted oil could appear in isolated locations in Florida if persistent winds push the current toward it.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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The Coast Guard says tar balls that floated ashore in the Florida Keys aren't linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

A report released Wednesday says tests by a Coast Guard laboratory show the tar balls don't match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The source of the tar balls isn't known. Tar balls can occur naturally or come from other sources such as ships.

Twenty were found Monday and several others Tuesday.

Government scientists who surveyed the Gulf on Tuesday said tendrils of light oil were near or already in a powerful current that could take it to Florida. The loop current circulates in the Gulf and takes water south to the Florida Keys and the Gulf Stream. But most oil remains dozens of miles away from the current.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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