Gulf oil spill worsens…

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Underwater footage of BP oil leak

Underwater footage of BP oil leak

As of today, the efforts to contain and clean up the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continue. The environmental concerns and long term effects that the spill has caused have yet to be fully determined.  A YouTube video that was  recently released  by the US coast guard shows the first underwater footage, and a close-up view of how bad the spill really is. From 1,500m below sea-level we see oil gushing into the Gulf and gain a sense of why every second counts in the operation to plug the leaks.  Check it out here.

See the oil spread with this Oil Spill tracker. According to this interactive map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, available on the New York Times website, since April 20th the spill is estimated to have leaked an amazing 4.8 million gallons, around 210,000  gallons per day since the initial explosion.  That is still some way short of the 11 million gallons spilled in Alaska in the Exxon Valdez disaster, but that sinister benchmark appears closer every day.

The map represents the oil on the surface of the water and doesn’t account for oil that may be below the surface. Check back for daily updates of the spread and updates of the spill.

Maps101 subscribers can take a closer look at the Great Barrier Reef damage and the effects of yet another oil spill – this time from a Chinese Coal Ship –   with this Geography in the News article.

UPDATE: NPR are now reporting that based upon analysis of the video footage done independently by astrophysicists and scientists from Purdue University that the flow rate could be up to 10 times worse that is currently being reported.  Meanwhile, in a less-than-sensitive interview with the UK’s Guardian Newspaper, BP  CEO Tony Hayward insists that “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.

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