Oil Slick Continues in the Gulf of Mexico
acquired May 23, 2010 download large image (11 MB, JPEG, 5200x6000)

On April 20, 2010, a deadly explosion at an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico damaged a well that was nearly a mile underwater. More than a month later, officials had yet to contain the slick.

This image of the Mississippi River Delta and nearshore waters was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on May 23, 2010. Oil appears light gray, occasionally streaked with brown. The largest oil patch is in the vicinity of the damaged well, but streamers of oil also spread to the northeast.

Oil slicks are notoriously hard to see in photo-like satellite images such as this one. A thin sheen of oil against an already dark background is often imperceptible unless viewing conditions place the oil slick in a particular spot of the image: the sunglint region. The slick was not in the sunglint region when this image was captured, and therefore, the slick is not as prominent as it has appeared in other images.

  1. Related Resources

  2. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response, the official site of the Deepwater Horizon unified command.
  3. Current information about the extent of the oil slick is available from the Office of Response and Restoration at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.
  4. Information about the impact of the oil slick on wildlife is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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

Instrument(s): 
Aqua - MODIS

Oil Slick Continues in the Gulf of Mexico

Image Location
Image Location
More in this Event (view all)
Left
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
Right