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Oil Slick Off the Mississippi Delta - May 18, 2010

Oil Slick Off the Mississippi Delta - May 18, 2010 American History Disasters Famous Historical Events Geography History Social Studies STEM Tragedies and Triumphs

By the 18th of May, the oil slick was expanding and was just off the Mississippi Delta.  This satellite photo shows the results of the uncapped well, at Mississippi Canyon 252, as it keeps sending oil to the surface of the Gulf waters. 

NASA describes the image which reveals the slick is threatening protected habitats and the coastlines of nearby states:

Sunlight and oil colored the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico around the Mississippi Delta on May 18, 2010. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image the same day.

The diagonal stripes mark the boundaries between each rotation of the scanning mirror that MODIS uses to observe light reflected from the Earth; the stripes are perpendicular to the satellite’s path. These scan lines are accentuated by sunglint - the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water.

Besides hinting at the sensor’s scans, the sunglint also illuminates oil slicks on the sea surface. Bright oil slicks appear east and southeast of the delta.

As in earlier images, the oil slick spans many kilometers off the delta. Not all of the pale-hued water, however, is slicked with oil ... [T]he Mississippi Delta is typically surrounded by sediment-clogged freshwater. Along the left edge of the image, the camel-toned water is probably freshwater filled with sediment.

Click on the image for a closer view.

 


Media Credits

NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team.  Image online, courtesy NASA's Earth Observatory web site.

 

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