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27 Apr 2010: NASA Image Captures Extent
of Oil Leak off U.S. Gulf Coast

Click to enlarge
Gulf Oil Spill

NASA
Oil leak from damaged rig in the Gulf of Mexico
A new image taken by a NASA satellite captures the extent of a major oil spill triggered by the explosion aboard an offshore oil rig about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. An estimated 42,000 gallons of oil have been gushing into Gulf waters daily since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank to the sea floor last week. Eleven crew members were killed in the blast, and several others were injured, and experts say the spill threatens the marine environment across the region, particularly on the Chandeleur and Breton barrier islands in Louisiana, where thousands of birds are nesting. Oyster beds on the eastern edge of the Mississippi River also are threatened. In this image, taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite, the swirling sheen of oil — roughly 50 miles long and 33 miles wide — is seen in the lower right corner. Northerly winds have blown the slick away from the coast, but the wind direction is expected to shift Thursday and drive the slick toward the Louisiana wetlands. BP, the company that owns the platform, is using robotic submarines to try to seal the leaking oil well.


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