April 26, 2010
UPDATE: Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico heading towards full-scale environmental disaster
The images, captured on April 25 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite and the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite, show a large oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana and Mississippi. An estimated 42,000 gallons of oil are leaking per day into the Gulf.
NASA says its imagery of the affected region is being updated twice daily from the MODIS Rapid Response Team.
Emergency workers are attempting to control the spill.
The spill comes just weeks after a Chinese coal barge grounded on the Great Barrier Reef, causing damage to about two miles of coral reef, and shortly after President Barack Obama announced plans to open up new offshore drilling sites along the northern coast of Alaska, the Atlantic coast, and the Gulf of Mexico.
download large image (2 MB, JPEG)
NASA image caption: In the top image, the Mississippi Delta is at image center, and the oil slick is a silvery swirl to the right. The oil slick may be particularly obvious because it is occurring in the sunglint area, where the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water gives the Gulf of Mexico a washed-out look. The close-up view shows waves on the water surface as well as ships, presumably involved in the clean up and control activities.
Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico heading towards full-scale environmental disaster
(04/29/2010) With the news that the amount of oil leaking from below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico could be as much as five times the original estimate put forward by British oil-giant BP, the situation moved from worrisome to desperate.
After oil rig explosion, leaking crude threatens Gulf of Mexico
(04/26/2010) Just weeks after a Chinese coal barge rammed the Great Barrier Reef, cutting a nearly two-mile swath through the reef and spilling three tons of engine fuel, fragile marine ecosystems are again threatened. Last Tuesday a BP oil rig platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, likely killing eleven workers. The blast also left oil leaking from the drill hole estimated at 42,000 gallons (or 1,000 barrels) of oil per day.