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Students Are Field Tested During Emergency Response To Hercules Blowout

Nothing like real world application to illustrate what a book cannot demonstrate.”—Tiffany Warner, Louisiana State University and CWC

In the early morning hours on Monday July 23rd the Hercules 252 rig blew out, spewing a mixture of gas, condensate, and possibly other hydrocarbons into the water and air. In four days, senior scientists – members of five Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) consortia – assembled a team and plan, obtained the RV Acadiana, prepped and shipped equipment, traveled to Cocodrie, LA, sailed to the blowout site, and began their work to assess potential impacts.

Five students – Joy Battles (ECOGIG), Nathan Laxague (CARTHE), Conor Smith (CARTHE), Tiffany Warner (CWC), and Sarah Weber (ECOGIG) – suddenly found themselves at the heart of this important mission, and not as sideline players. Their educational and research background and their personal fortitude were put to the test, working as a full-fledged response team to plan and execute this “herculean” data-gathering operation.

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