Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico
acquired April 25, 2010 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 3840x2880)
Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico
acquired April 25, 2010 download large image (4 MB, JPEG, 2304x4608)

An estimated 42,000 gallons of oil per day were leaking from an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico in late April, following an explosion at an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010. The rig eventually capsized and sank.

These images of the affected area were captured on April 25 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite (top, wider view) and the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite (bottom, close up).

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.

The initial explosion killed eleven people and injured several others, and a fire burned at the location for more than a day until the damaged oil rig sank. An emergency response effort is underway to stop the flow of oil and contain the existing slick before it reaches wildlife refuges and beaches in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The slick may contain dispersant or other chemicals that emergency responders are using to control the spread of the oil, and it is unknown how much of the 700,000 gallons of fuel that were on the oil rig burned in the fire and how much may have spilled into the water when the platform sank.

On April 25, 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Emergency Response Division issued the following update on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico: “An attempt to control the leaking well using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) was not successful, and the well continues to leak.&rdquo

Twice-daily images of the Gulf Coast are available from the MODIS Rapid Response Team in additional resolutions and formats, including a georeferenced file that can be used with Google Earth.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

Instrument(s): 
Aqua - MODIS

Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico

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Smoke Plume from Burning Oil Rig in Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Gulf Oil Spill Creeps Towards Mississippi Delta Oil Slick Near Mississippi Delta Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Observed From the International Space Station Oil Reaches Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Continues in Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick near the Mouth of the Mississippi Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Explosion, Leak at Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Gulf Oil Slick Approaching Loop Current Oil Slick off the Mississippi Delta Oil Slick off the Mississippi Delta Oil Slick Continues in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak Continues in Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Offshore of Alabama and Florida's Western Panhandle Oil Slick Around Mississippi Barrier Islands Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Slick, Mississippi River Delta, Gulf of Mexico
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